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Postgraduate research project

Aerostructural optimisation of ultra-high aspect ratio wings

Fully funded (UK only)
Type of degree
Doctor of Philosophy
Entry requirements
2:1 honours degree View full entry requirements
Faculty graduate school
Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences
Closing date

About the project

To meet the objectives of the Paris Climate Agreement, aviation (~3% of human global CO2 emissions) must do its share. The target for air transportation is a 75% reduction in CO2 and 90% reduction in NOx by 2050. The European Green Deal even aims at climate neutrality by 2050. To achieve such goals, the path forward is minimising aircraft weight and drag and moving towards emissions-free energy sources, storage and conversion systems. 

To achieve such goals, the sector is looking at:

  • new energy carriers (batteries, fuel cells, hydrogen)
  • distributed propulsion concepts
  • new configurations such as Ultra-High Aspect Ratio Wings (UHARW). 

Although the UHARW concept presents the distinct advantage of reduced induced drag, consequently leading to reduced fuel consumption and extended range, it concurrently introduces challenges associated with substantial aerodynamic load-induced wing bending moments and shear forces. These factors give rise to heightened structural weight, thereby constraining the overall advantages of the UHARW design. To tackle this challenge, some strategies can be employed, for example integrating novel configurations, such as strut-braced wings, with novel technologies such as active and passive load alleviation. 

In this project, as comprehensive approach for conceptual design and aerostructural analysis and optimsiation of UHARWs will be developed and applied to design of next generation low emission transport aircraft. Advanced optimisation approaches, i.e. coupled-adjoint sensitivity analysis will be integrated with medium to high fidelity aerodynamic and structural analysis tools to achieve this goal.

We are seeking a person with a master degree (or equivalent). in aerospace or a closely related field, with experience in aircraft design, aeroelasticity and aerostructural optimisation.

You will join a leading Engineering Faculty with an excellent record of collaborative research with industry and academic institutions in the UK and abroad. In September 2013 an Athena SWAN Bronze award was received by the School of Engineering in recognition of our continued commitment to improving equality for women in science and engineering.

The Faculty offers exceptional research facilities in the areas of fluids, structures and their interactions, including a new world-class fluid dynamics facilities complex in the Boldrewood Engineering Campus, complete with a 138m towing tank.

At the University of Southampton, we value diversity and equality. The University recognises that employees may wish to have working patterns that fit with their caring responsibilities or work-life balance. Due consideration will also be given to applicants who have had career breaks for reasons including maternity, paternity or adoption leave, disability or illness. Both the University of Southampton and Chemistry are proud to hold Athena Swan Silver Awards.