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New PhD research opportunities

vs_2 PhD studentship in sensitivity analysis of thermoacoustic oscillations in gas turbine and rocket engines

Starting in October 2016 for 3.5 years. UK students only.

Thermoacoustic oscillations have caused countless rocket engine and gas turbine failures and are one of the major problems facing rocket and gas turbine manufacturers today. Experiments and numerical simulations show that small changes to a combustion chamber can eliminate these oscillations. The challenge is to predict those small changes and thereby optimize the combustion chamber's design.

The project will use adjoint-based sensitivity analysis applied to a thermoacoustic system modelled with an open source FE code, Fenics (http://fenicsproject.org). This will give the sensitivity of the thermoacoustic oscillations to changes in the geometry or the addition of a passive feedback device. Predictions from these models will be compared with results obtained from experiments done by other members of the research group.

The final stage of the project will be to wrap an optimization loop around the model in order to iterate towards a optimal design. This will be extremely challenging and will involve incorporating optimization techniques from other research groups.

Requirements:

Applicants should have an excellent academic track record in a scientific, mathematical, or engineering discipline. Some experience of object-oriented programming (e.g. Python) would be an advantage but is not essential.

Eligibility:

Full funding, fees and Maintenance, is available only to UK students. Overseas students are not eligible for this award.

To apply, please complete form CHRIS/6 (cover sheet for C.V.s) available at http://www.admin.cam.ac.uk/offices/hr/forms/ and send it with your C.V. and a covering letter to Matthew Juniper (mpj1001@cam.ac.uk) to arrive no later than 30 April 2016.

vs_2 PhD studentship in numerical modelling of carbon nanotube aerogel formation

Starting in October 2016 for 3.5 years. UK and EU students only.

Individual carbon nanotubes (CNTs) have extremely high electrical conductivity, thermal conductivity, and yield strength. The engineering challenge is to create macroscopic CNT fibres that retain these extraordinary properties. A technique has been developed at Cambridge to form a cloud of interlocking CNTs, known as an aerogel, which can then be drawn out as a fibre. This works at low flowrates. The aim of this project is to model this numerically so that it can be designed to work at high flowrates.

This project will deal with three aspects of CNT fibre formation: (i) aerogel formation in a furnace, (ii) aerogel behaviour in the furnace, (iii) aerogel manipulation by the flow outside the furnace. Models will be developed in a finite element numerical platform. Sensitivities to model parameters will be calculated rapidly using adjoint methods. This will identify the most influential model parameters and inform experiments performed by another team, which will run in parallel with the modelling efforts.

The final stage of the project will be to use the numerical model and its sensitivities to iterate towards an optimal design of a CNT furnace.

Requirements:

Applicants should have an excellent academic track record in a scientific, mathematical, or engineering discipline. Some experience of object-oriented programming (e.g. Python) would be an advantage but is not essential.

Eligibility:

Full funding, fees and Maintenance, is available only to UK and EU students. Overseas students are not eligible for this award.

To apply, please complete form CHRIS/6 (cover sheet for C.V.s) available at http://www.admin.cam.ac.uk/offices/hr/forms/ and send it with your C.V. and a covering letter to Matthew Juniper (mpj1001@cam.ac.uk) to arrive no later than 31 May 2016.


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