PhD Studentship: Nonlinear modelling of aircraft gust loads Faculty of Engineering

The project:

With over 100,000 unsteady aerodynamic simulations required to estimate the maximum loads for each design cycle of a civil aircraft, the introduction of high fidelity analysis into loads prediction is a very challenging and rewarding area of research.

Simple dynamically linear models form the current basis of aircraft loads techniques as they are efficient and fit into existing analysis for aeroelastic and aeroservoelastic simulation. However large discrete gusts are highly non-linear and such approaches become inaccurate at flow conditions that commonly form the largest loads experienced by the aircraft. Accurate and rapid prediction of these loads is the goal of this work.

Provisional work within a collaborative EU research project (FFAST) has identified a potentially, important phenomena in the modelling of transonic flows. Research in this project will provide: an insight into the nature of the nonlinearity of the gust response and then the development of methods for constructing reduced order models from the understanding of the dynamics of a set of “internal” variables.

Additionally, there is the opportunity for the successful candidate to spend 9 months working alongside his/her industrial supervisor at EADS- Innovation works. EADS-Innovation Works is the corporate research centre of EADS, with sites in Germany, France, Spain, UK, Singapore and Russia, and provides world-class capabilities in aeronautics, defence and space research topics.

Candidate requirements:

Candidates must hold a 1st Class Degree in Aerospace or Mechanical Engineering, Physics or Mathematics. Due to funding restrictions, candidates must be UK nationals or EU citizens who have spent the last 3 years in the UK.

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Preference for students with experience/knowledge of fluid mechanics, flight mechanics and computational modelling or computational fluid dynamics.


Funding is available from February 2014. This scholarship offered over 3.5 years, covers full UK/EU (EU applicants who have been resident in the UK for 3 years prior to application) PhD tuition fees and a tax-free stipend at the current RCUK rate (£13,726 in 2013/14). An industrial top up is also offered of £10,000. EU nationals resident in the EU may also apply and will qualify only for PhD tuition fees.

How to apply:

Please make an online application for this project via the ‘Apply’ button below. Please select Aerospace Engineering (PhD) on the Programme Choice page and enter details of the studentship when prompted in the Funding and Research Details sections of the form.


In the first instance please email Dr Dorian Jones ( with “Loads PhD” as the subject heading.

Deadline for applications: 10th January 2014. 

The University of Bristol is committed to equality and we value the diversity of our staff and students.

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