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Aero-engine nacelle aerodynamics and optimisation PhD- full funded





This is a full funded PhD (fees and bursary) in propulsion system aerodynamics in collaboration with Rolls-Royce and EPSRC. The focus of the research is on the aerodynamic design and optimisation of aero-engine nacelles and the integration with the airframe. The project will investigate advanced adjoint based optimisation methods for the powerplant design as part of a full engine-airframe configuration. A key focus is on determining optimisation strategies to address various objective functions, design constraints, geometry modifications as well as quantifying the potential fuel burn reduction benefits.


There is a significant ongoing effort to reduce emissions from civil aviation both in terms of propulsion and aircraft system research. For future aircraft concepts there is an expectation that new architectures, required to delivered improved fuel efficiency, will feature closer integration of the propulsion system with the airframe. A key challenge for such configurations will be the more complex aerodynamic characteristics associated with the propulsion system integration. This can apply to the aero-engine intake, exhaust, nacelle and main propulsion system. The overall aim of the funded PhD project is to determine the feasibility and potential benefits of using adjoint optimisation methods to reduce fuel burn by improving the propulsion/airframe aerodynamic integration. The research will initially focus on the integrated nacelle design and will investigate optimisation strategies for handling different operating points, design constraints as well as various objective functions and aerodynamic criteria. Although the work will be based around a high bypass ratio engine configuration integrated with a long-range civil transport airframe, the research outcomes will also be pertinent to a range of future novel architectures. The main impact of the work will be through Rolls-Royce where it will enable improved quantitative assessments of nacelle design and performance which can have a significant impact on the overall viability of potential novel aircraft configurations aimed at reduced emissions. It is expected that the researcher will publish both conference and journal papers. During the course of the studies it is also envisaged that the student will undertake a placement with Rolls-Royce. The research is funded through an EPSRC industrial CASE award in collaboration with Rolls-Royce. The work will be conducted through the Rolls-Royce University Technology Centre based at Cranfield which has a strong collaborative history with Rolls-Royce in the area of aero-engine installation aerodynamics. This programme provides the PhD candidate with an outstanding opportunity to work closely with Rolls-Royce engineers across a range of disciplines for the development of future aerospace technologies and capabilities. During the PhD programme there will be regular reviews and presentation opportunities with Rolls-Royce as well as the chance to attend specialist MSc modules if needed.


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  • Application deadline05 Jul 2023

  • Award type(s)PhD

  • Start date25 Sep 2023

  • Duration of award4 years

  • EligibilityUK, EU, Rest of World

  • Reference numberSATM367


Entry requirements Applicants should have a first or second class UK honours degree or equivalent in a related discipline. This project would suit students with an aerospace or mechanical engineering background. Experience of computational fluid dynamics, compressible flow and aerodynamic analysis and optimisation would be an advantage.

Funding This studentship is open to both UK and international applications. However, we are only permitted to offer a limited number of studentships to applicants from outside the UK. Funded studentships will only be awarded to exceptional candidates due to the competitive nature of the funding.

About the sponsor Sponsored by EPSRC, Rolls-Royce and Cranfield University, this studentship will provide a bursary of up to £17,668 (tax free) plus fees for four years.

Cranfield Doctoral Network Research students at Cranfield benefit from being part of a dynamic, focused and professional study environment and all become valued members of the Cranfield Doctoral Network. This network brings together both research students and staff, providing a platform for our researchers to share ideas and collaborate in a multi-disciplinary environment. It aims to encourage an effective and vibrant research culture, founded upon the diversity of activities and knowledge. A tailored programme of seminars and events, alongside our Doctoral Researchers Core Development programme (transferable skills training), provide those studying a research degree with a wealth of social and networking opportunities.


For further information please contact about the program: Name: Prof. David MacManus Email: d.g.macmanus@cranfield.ac.uk

How to apply through us

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PhD. Proposal (1500 words)

Statement of Purpose (1 Page essay on your reason for the research)

Curriculum Vitae

Int’l Passport

Master Degree Certificate

Master Degree Transcript

Degree Certificate

Degree Transcript

High School/ WAEC/NECO

2 Academic Reference Letters


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