Development of transonic and supersonic CFD modelling and design optimisation techniques for spaceplanes

Lead Research Organisation: Swansea University
Department Name: School of Engineering


This is an exciting opportity for a PhD in Computational Fluid Dynamics. The student will work closely with an exciting and pioneering UK aerospace company, Reaction Engines Ltd (REL) whilst gaining experiencing in the state of the art in transonic CFD and computational optimisation methods. This PhD will focus on the development and application of computational aerodynamic optimisation approaches to the design of REL's Skylon space plane in the transonic flight regime.

The aim of the project will be to develop a novel mesh-based optimisation system that can be used in conjunction with methods developed by Dr Evans that can exploit evolutionary algorithms and 'human in the loop' optimisation techniques. The project will explore novel methods for integrating complex design constraints into the optimisation process as well as exploring implementations of multi-objective optimisation. Supervision will be provided by Dr Evans and aerodynamics engineers at REL to ensure that outcomes support the ongoing Skylon development programme. The CFD platform that will be used is the FLITE3D CFD system used for the design of the Airbus A380 and Bloodhound Land Speed Record car. The ultimate goal of the project will be to provide REL with a greater understanding of the optimal geometric configuration of winged, reusable launch vehicles as well as delivery of trusted transonic modelling capabilities and optimisation techniques for future work. This is a high impact project that will play a critical role in the design of aerospace vehicles that will be a step-change in global aerospace capabilities.


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