aerospace expertise

aerospace expertise
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]
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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