PhD Studentship: Aircraft State Modelling and Separation for Fatigue Design

University of Southampton

Supervisory Team: Dr. Andrea Da Ronch 

Project description

Applications are invited for a Ph.D. studentship on Aircraft State Modelling & Separation for Fatigue Design. The scholarship is funded by Airbus Operations Ltd through an EPSRC Industrial CASE Award. 

The project has the potential of significantly improving the fatigue design and maintenance of an aircraft. Fatigue design and fatigue damage estimates are based on many factors such as design and performance assumptions, manufacturing, component material, stress cycle calculations and service conditions. Of these, the stress cycles and service conditions experienced by the aircraft are related to the loads acting on the aircraft during flight, such as those resulting from the number (and type) of gusts and manoeuvres experienced by the aircraft. Thus, refined information on the number and severity of gusts could improve the fatigue damage estimates of the aircraft. The hypothesis is that machine learning could be applied to historic datasets of in-service and flight test data to find specific performance clusters and automatically identify/separate the aircraft dynamics due to aircraft control from the dynamics due to gust or environmental factors/phenomenon. More accurate, in-service and flight-test based, statistical data could then be used for fatigue design to improve damage estimates and ultimately reduce the amount of time an aircraft spends on the ground for inspection of component failures. Such research is of utmost importance for the aerospace industry and Airbus has a strong interest in developing a maintenance system which makes the aircraft available when needed by the airline at minimum maintenance cost and which opens opportunities for new maintenance business models and services. 

Applications are invited from candidates with (or who are expected to gain) a first-class honours degree or equivalent in Aerospace Engineering. Further details on eligibility and about the EPSRC case programme can be found at .  The studentship is for 4 years and will provide full coverage of tuition fees, a generous travel budget, support for a placement of at least 3 months at Airbus, Filton, and an annual tax-free enhanced stipend of circa £20,000. 

If you wish to discuss any details of the project informally, please contact Dr. Andrea Da Ronch, Aerodynamics and Flight Mechanics Research Group, Email: [email protected] , Tel: +44 (0) 2380 59 4787.

Entry Requirements

A very good undergraduate degree (at least a UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent). 

Closing Date : Applications should be received no later than 31 August 2024 for standard admissions, but later applications may be considered depending on the funds remaining in place. 

Funding: For UK students, Tuition Fees and a stipend of £20,000 tax-free per annum for up to 3.5 years. 

How To Apply

Apply online: Search for a Postgraduate Programme of Study ( . Select programme type (Research), 2023/24, Faculty of Physical Sciences and Engineering, next page select “PhD Engineering & Environment (Full time)”. In Section 2 of the application form you should insert the name of the supervisor Andrea Da Ronch.

Applications should include:

Research Proposal

Curriculum Vitae

Two reference letters

Degree Transcripts/Certificates to date 

For further information please contact: [email protected]

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