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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/P006795/1
Title: Fast Aircraft Load Calculations
Principal Investigator: Da Ronch, Dr A
Other Investigators:
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Airbus Group Limited
Department: Faculty of Engineering & the Environment
Organisation: University of Southampton
Scheme: First Grant - Revised 2009
Starts: 09 January 2017 Ends: 08 January 2019 Value (£): 97,817
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Aerodynamics Continuum Mechanics
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Aerospace, Defence and Marine
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
03 Aug 2016 Engineering Prioritisation Panel Meeting 3 August 2016 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Air transportation is becoming more accessible to a greater number of people who can afford to travel by air. The air transportation sector forecasts that passenger and freight traffic will increase at an average rate of 4-5% per annum over the next two decades, leading to a doubling of the aircraft fleet by 2034 with respect to 2015. Formidable progress has been made since the introduction of jet-propelled aircraft about 65 years ago, but much of this improvement is offset by the huge increase in air traffic today. The Advisory Council for Aviation Research and Innovation in Europe (ACARE) "FlightPath 2050" calls for reductions of 75% in fuel burn, 65% in perceived noise, and 90% in oxides of nitrogen emissions by 2050 compared to the year 2000. NASA has proposed similar goals in the US for the "N+2" (service-entry 2025) and "N+3" (service-entry 2030-2035) generations of aircraft. These environmental constraints have generated a large effort to reduce the aerodynamic drag and to generate more efficient engines. A small reduction in fuel burn multiplied by the total number of transport aircraft leads to a significant reduction of emissions into the atmosphere.

The FALCon project will develop new methods and tools to design a new generation of transport aircraft that take advantage of wing flexibility to improve the global aircraft efficiency. The project is specifically developed around a long-standing industrial challenge: assessing the impact of aerodynamic changes on the structural loads used for structural sizing of aircraft components is an expensive process (from several weeks when low-order methods are employed, to several months when employing higher-fidelity methods). Generally, the computing cost of an aeroelastic analysis is largely dominated by the aerodynamic analysis. The novelty of the FALCon project lies in the development of a computationally-efficient aerodynamic solver that reduces the computational time by, at least, 80% compared to current state-of-the-art methods.

The FALCon project will contribute to:

- Improved realism of predictions earlier in the aircraft design process, reducing the risk of not meeting customers' expectations and shortening the time to bring new aircraft on the market.

- Reduce current conservatism in aircraft design by performing dynamic (time-domain) aeroelastic analysis, which are today neglected because of the computational costs.

- Implement a paradigm change in aircraft design through the development of enhanced design tools for conceptual and preliminary phases, including aero-servo-elastic design constraints from the start of the design process. A new design paradigm is proposed, shifting the structural deformability from a performance limitation to a design opportunity.

- A close collaboration with industry guarantees that the outcomes of the project will feed back to the UK and European aviation sector, strengthening its competitiveness. A seamless integration within the existing industrial design process is expected, adding no complications to current procedures.

Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Date Materialised
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Project URL:  
Further Information:  
Organisation Website: http://www.soton.ac.uk