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Kirkland, WA, United States

Agency: GTR | Branch: EPSRC | Program: | Phase: Fellowship | Award Amount: 946.06K | Year: 2015

Policy makers and regulatory bodies are demanding the aerospace industry reduces CO2 emission by 50% and NOx emission by 80% by 2020. In order to meet these drastic demands and ensure affordable air travel in the future, it is essential to make lighter aircraft which will use minimum fuel. The aerospace research community recognises the need to make a dramatic performance improvement and is considering several new aircraft concepts that move away from the conventional two-wing-one-fuselage configuration. This brings new challenges to aircraft design. A wing is a highly complex structure to design as it needs to consider the complex interaction between aerodynamics and structural behaviour. The current design practice is therefore very much based on using the previous successful design data. The challenge of departing from the conventional aircraft is that there are limited successful historical design data that is applicable to new concept aircraft. Once we have a wing design, however, there are sophisticated computational methods that analyse how the wing behaves under external flight conditions. In fact, there has been a significant level of development in computational analysis methods taking advantage of growing computational power. A prime example of this is the recent development in the computational modelling of materials. Using this technology, new advanced materials can be created in half the time that traditional material development takes and the return on investment in computational materials research has been estimated at between 300 - 900%. This fellowship is at the heart of developing sophisticated computational methods to design aircraft configurations that have not been considered before. The majority of the current methods analyse how a given material or structure responds to the external environment such as in flight at speed Mach 0.8, 38000 ft. What is different about the methods in this research is that they are inverse of the analysis methods: They will determine the best combination of advanced material and structural configuration based on the external environment and hence design the optimum wing for the given flight conditions. My research approach is to represent the design problem as a set of mathematical functions and develop computational methods to find the optimum solution. The methods will therefore, find the optimum design for both materials and structural configuration at the same time. The outcome of this fellowship will provide engineers with a sophisticated tool to design complex aircraft structures. The tools will be developed and disseminated in a way that they can be used on a range of other complex engineering problems. The UK has 17% of the global aerospace market share with revenue of £24 billion and is responsible for 3.6% national employment. With the international civil aerospace market forecast to grow to $4 trillion by 2030, the UK market has the opportunity to grow to $352 billion by 2030. It is critical that the UK develops this unique capability to ensure we maintain the market share of these high value products and processes and its economy has the opportunity for growth. Furthermore, the weight savings which will be made from optimum use of materials lead to meeting the emission targets, thus ensuring sustainable environment for the future generations.

Agency: Cordis | Branch: FP7 | Program: BSG-SME | Phase: SME-2012-1 | Award Amount: 1.42M | Year: 2012

Tidal stream power is a very environmentally attractive renewable energy source whose exploitation is being retarded by operation and maintenance problems which cause very low availability times, as poor as 25%. So the REMO project gaol is to provide an enabling technology for tidal stream energy, by reducing the projected life cycle maintenance costs of tidal stream energy by 50% and the generator downtime to a level comparable with wind turbines i.e. to achieve availability times 96%. This strategy will reduce present projected costs of tidal stream energy production down to levels comparable with life cycle wind turbine electricity costs (0.058/kWh) thus ensuring the economic viability of tidal generators. Energy providers will then be attracted to investing in tidal stream energy, so that its full economic potential and environmental advantages are realised. The REMO system will remotely and permanently monitor the entire frequency spectrum of structural vibrations generated by all the rotating components of a tidal stream turbine, by combining a suite of accelerometer and acoustic emission sensors for the low and high frequency regime respectively. The system will determine the vibrational signature of a healthy turbine and the evolution of that signature during the turbine life cycle. It will then discover any significant change in that signature that could be a symptom a structural health problem at any point in the life cycle, including the build up of marine fouling, and then issue an automatic warning. State of the art similarity analysis algorithms based on the Euclidian distance measure in multiple dimensions will be used in both the time and frequency domain for optimally cost effective processing of all vibrational data involved in the state of health diagnosis The system will be validated by installing it on an in-service tidal stream generator developed by one of the SMEs who will also be an end user of the proposed REMO technology.

Agency: Cordis | Branch: FP7 | Program: BSG-SME | Phase: SME-2012-1 | Award Amount: 1.05M | Year: 2013

This proposal will aim to develop the enabling technology that will enable existing pipe crawling robots (pigs) to provide internal inspection of pipe walls using long range ultrasound guided waves (LRUG) deployed in pipe segments of about fifty metre length. The aim is to perform total volume inspection far more rapidly, accurately and cheaply than is presently achieved with magnetic and ultrasonic pigs by developing a circumferential collar of LRUG sensors and novel time reversal focussing to produce a map of the circumferential and axial pipe corrosion and cracks. As LRUG sensors detect all significant corrosion in oil and gas pipelines within typically 50 metre of the sensors in a few milliseconds, long lengths of pipe can be scanned very rapidly with sample wave echo patterns obtained only every 50 metres thereby data storage requirements will be orders of magnitude less than present inspection methods. The speed of travel through the pipe could thus be faster than pigs that gather data with ultrasonic compression probes. To test the technology developed by the project, the LRUG collar will be deployed initially by a mechanism to pull the collar through a pipe full of water at different constant and also varying speeds. A prototype robot will be developed that is intrinsically safe for operation in explosive environments and that is lightweight (neutrally buoyant) to investigate how best to deploy the LRUG technology in a real pipeline with faster travel and cheaper robots.

Agency: GTR | Branch: Innovate UK | Program: | Phase: Smart - Proof of Concept | Award Amount: 82.97K | Year: 2013

Full Authority Submarine Control (FASC) is a new concept for submarine steering and diving systems, and combines Stirling’s proven Active Control Technology from the fly-by-wire aircraft industry with extensive experience in producing submarine autopilot and hover control software. This results in an integrated method of control which covers all steering and diving control requirements for the entire speed range of the submarine. Achieving this aim of bringing all the control surfaces together in a single system with full authority over the submarine will be a world first in operation. Stirling’s research into new concepts for submarine platform control has been prompted by a number of factors. Technology ‘push’ factors and industry ‘pull’ factors have now created an environment where the concept could be developed to become a viable production solution. Firstly, it was recognised that accepted issues with conventional methods of steering and diving control could be solved through the deployment of a cohesive control strategy. Secondly, future submarines will be required to operate in an increasing number of ever changing roles through the life of the submarine. Stirling’s customers are now placing requirements for more manoeuvres and operations to be performed under automatic control, in more challenging environments with performance criteria becoming more exacting and wide ranging. Performance requirements are being extended in the areas of setpoint following, disturbance rejection, and minimisation of control effort. Thirdly, there is an increasing desire to reduce through life costs which translate into requirements to minimise integration effort, manning, training and maintenance costs. All these have been combined in the system design approach for FASC. The project aims to develop a concept demonstrator that will enable the control strategy to be proven and provide a real-time environment for customer evaluation that will inform the next stage of development

Agency: GTR | Branch: EPSRC | Program: | Phase: Fellowship | Award Amount: 749.27K | Year: 2013

The dynamic behaviour of mechanical systems and structures is often critical to their performance. Examples where unpredicted dynamic behaviour has resulted in poor performance include the London Millennium Footbridge prior to retrofitting with dampers and wheel shimmy experienced in aircraft landing gear and motorbikes. When structures remain in their linear operating region, where the response is proportional to the size of the force causing it, there are well-established modelling and experimental validation tools for analysing their dynamic behaviour. If the structure exceeds the linear operating region and starts to exhibit nonlinear behaviour, for example due to large deflections, the effectiveness of these tools rapidly reduces leading to high degrees of design uncertainty. This uncertainty leads to multiple design iterations and increased costly experimental validation and even the discovery of undesirable behaviour late in the design process resulting in significant delay and additional expense. This presents a problem when trying to innovate to improve performance, for example by reducing weight or using new materials, as this tends to add nonlinear effects. Currently the consequence of the limitations in existing tools is that the resulting uncertainty is compensated for by conservative design. What are urgently needed are design tools that can cope with complex nonlinear behaviour. The new nonlinear design tools this research will provide will greatly reduced the costs associated with designing new high performance products. Such step changes to the UKs capability for advanced design will assist high-end manufacturing industry to maintain its competitive edge.

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