University of Bath Aerospace research at Bath The University’s Aerospace Engineering Research Centre was established in 2007 and has since made a significant contribution to research and development in the aerospace sector. Key research areas include acoustics, aero structures, computational fluid dynamics, experimental aerodynamics and gas turbines. The following research expertise might be of interest to your organisation. If you would like further information or to discuss how your organisation might work with the University please contact us using the details overleaf. Aerospace research at Bath Here is a small taste of a few of the aerospace research projects currently being undertaken at Bath: Sensing damage from impact on aircraft Harvesting energy from aeroplane wings The aerospace industry is increasingly using composite materials, such as carbon fibre, in the building of aircraft – with the aim of reducing the weight of planes and ultimately the amount of fuel required to power them. Researchers at Bath are studying the composite laminates that are used for air and spacecraft to explore the use of laminates that flex when a machine vibrates. However, the difficulty with these new materials is that a low velocity impact, such as a bird strike or hail stones, makes no visible damage to the surface of the material but can considerably weaken it underneath, with the potential of leading to catastrophic failures. These laminates are bi-stable, meaning that they move as the surface they are fixed to moves. The energy from this movement can be harvested and used to power electronic equipment and structural health monitoring of moving vehicles. Researchers at Bath are working closely with the aerospace industry to develop sensors based on acoustic or ultrasound waves. By being able to analyse any changes in the wave pattern the research team can determine the size and location of damage, and the remaining life of the component. The novelty of the research is the use of bi-stable composites. Until now, only machines with regular vibrations could benefit from this type of energy harvesting, however the new bi-stable composites the researchers are investigating could allow energy to be harvested from non-regular vibrating machines. Dynamic modelling to improve the design of aircraft materials This allows energy harvesting to work in more chaotic, less regular environments, vastly increasing its potential applications. A research group at Bath is currently using dynamic modelling techniques to outline how damage from an impact forms in composite aircraft materials, with the aim of assisting designers in accounting for this and to improve the certification of new products. The research involves accurately modelling objects that could cause impact, such as a bird, or an enemy weapon, using finite element software. They start by looking at a very small component, predicting microscopic level behaviours, and then scale this up to the whole object. The research group is able to model for dynamic events, such as hailstones or bird impact, and also for ballistic and blast events during combat. By understanding how the materials used in the aircraft can fail, and the tolerances of the materials, the researchers can determine points of weakness which can be addressed during design. For further information or to discuss how your organisation might work with the University please email: [email protected] www.bath.ac.uk The University of Bath is one of the UK’s leading research intensive universities with an international reputation for academic excellence. The University is The Sunday Times ‘University of the Year 2011/12’, and recently won the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for its research.
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