Helping the aerospace industry become cleaner, greener and more efficient

Futhure large passenger aircraft – blended wing body

Our expertise in aerospace engineering is helping develop technology to improve aircraft design for companies such as Rolls Royce and Airbus.

Making air travel greener

University engineers have designed a mechanism that will make flying greener and cheaper.

The research team, led by Professor Ning Qin, developed shock control bumps for modern aircraft which dramatically improves airflow around the plane’s wing at high cruise speed.

The shock control bumps reduce drag due to shock waves, which is caused when the local flow over the wing become supersonic. Shock waves create a penalty in drag, limiting the plane’s performance and fuel efficiency.

The device has proved to reduce drag by as much as 30 per cent compared to a wing without shock control at high cruise speeds.

The impact of the shock control bumps has been a mass application of the device throughout the aerospace industry, which is a testament to its effectiveness in reducing drag.

Increasing design efficiency and accuracy for aero-engines

Our researchers have developed cutting-edge software to improve accuracy and efficiency in design analysis.

Organisations using the method have reported economic benefits from the significantly reduced time required to design components.

Professor of Aerodynamics Ning Qin

The software technique dramatically reduces the time required for engineers to evaluate concepts from several days to several hours. The method also enables engineers to break down complex problems and analyse areas - such as a section of an aircraft’s wing or engine blade - in isolation for greater accuracy.

The implementation of the software techniques has had significant impact in industry. Professor Ning Qin said: "The research has led to the improvement of design and analysis processes so that time spent is shortened. Organisations using the method have reported economic benefits from the significantly reduced time required to design components. For example, Rolls-Royce has reported an order of magnitude improvement in the time needed to mesh components."

Speeding-up supersonic and hypersonic vehicle design

Professor Qin and a team of collaborators have developed a software system to improve the efficiency and accuracy of three-dimensional supersonic and hypersonic aerospace design.

The tool is based on solving equations based on space marching instead of time marching. This allows engineers to solve three-dimensional problems in minutes rather than many hours.

The implications for using this method in industry, according to Professor Qin, are hugely significant, vastly cutting costs for aerospace companies.