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Numerical Modelling of Flutter for Aerospace Structures

The flutter of aircraft’s wings is similar with the resonance for the vibration of structures and it is a phenomena the aircraft designer needs to avoid. Flutter results from the fluid-structure interaction of air flow with deformable structures such as aircraft wings. The key factors affecting flutter are the aerodynamics, responsible for generating the lift on the wing, the dynamics of structures and the fluid-structure coupling, which allows the lift force to be passed to the wing structure. With the lift force applied on the wing, the wing will deform and, consequently, the aerodynamic shape of the wing will result in a different lifting force which in turn can induce more deformation on the wing. This process can continue for a while until flutter is achieved, which would eventually lead to the collapse of the wing. There are different approaches to solving the fluid continuum from high fidelity computational fluid dynamics approach to panel methods. From the solution of the fluid domain, the forces interacting with the solid are available, however each of these approaches have several simplifications that limit their accuracy especially in highly dynamic, turbulent or separated flow conditions. Recent advances have focused on more accurate prediction of the unsteady aerodynamics and the coupling of the fluid dynamics with structure dynamics. From the structures side, the dynamics modelling of the wing will have to be done either with an explicit or implicit solver. Recent advances are focused on the dynamic modelling of non-isotropic materials such as composite wing structures. Focus is on assessing and optimising ply orientations for the design of the aircraft wing to increase the flutter boundary. Typical candidates will have some experience in the numerical modelling of fluid or solid domain, using for example finite element, finite difference or finite volume methods, panel methods and so on. Some experience in the modelling of composite materials, experimental methods is also desired.

How to apply

If you are interested in applying for the above PhD topic please follow the steps below:

  1. Contact the supervisor by email or phone to discuss your interest and find out if you woold be suitable. Supervisor details can be found on this topic page. The supervisor will guide you in developing the topic-specific research proposal, which will form part of your application.
  2. Click on the 'Apply here' button on this page and you will be taken to the relevant PhD course page, where you can apply using an online application.
  3. Complete the online application indicating your selected supervisor and include the research proposal for the topic you have selected.

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This is a self funded topic

Brunel offers a number of funding options to research students that help cover the cost of their tuition fees, contribute to living expenses or both. See more information here: https://www.brunel.ac.uk/research/Research-degrees/Research-degree-funding. The UK Government is also offering Doctoral Student Loans for eligible students, and there is some funding available through the Research Councils. Many of our international students benefit from funding provided by their governments or employers. Brunel alumni enjoy tuition fee discounts of 15%.

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