The end of the line for linear design

UK research team aims to give engineers a tool for better predicting the dymanic behaviour of complex systems

Full article from Flight International (pdf: 146.30kb) (16-22 October 2012) by Dan Thisdell.

Over £4 million to engineer a new generation of nonlinear dynamic design tools

UoB Press release issued 12 September 2012

The performance of engineering structures is controlled by how well they behave in their working environment. In many cases, such as wind or wave power generation, medical robotics, aerospace and large civil structures, nonlinear dynamic effects have a big influence on the operational performance. However, understanding and exploiting nonlinear effects in structural dynamics presents serious difficulties and is acting as a bottleneck in the design progress of many structures.

A collaborative research team led by the University of Bristol has been awarded a grant to create new nonlinear dynamic design tools for engineering structures.

The team from the Universities of Bristol, Cambridge, Sheffield, Southampton and Swansea have been awarded a £4.2 million programme grant by the EPSRC.  The aim of the project is to create a step change in the understanding and exploitation of nonlinearity in structural dynamic systems.

The team intends to develop novel modelling and control techniques that can be used directly in the design processes for structural systems and which the group will demonstrate on a series of industry based experimental demonstrators.  These design tools will enable a transformation in the performance of engineering structural systems which are under increasing demands from technological, economic and environmental pressures.

The research team will be led by David Wagg, Professor of Structural Dynamics in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Bristol, and supported by partners including Stirling DynamicsEDF EnergyAirbus UKGL Garrad HassanRolls-RoyceRomax TechnologyAgustaWestlandESI Group

Full article from University of Bristol Website

Researchers look to simplify dynamic systems design

The Engineer – 13 September 2012 | By Stuart Nathan

A research project based at Bristol University aims to overcome some of the difficulties of designing dynamic systems, and could allow engineers to build more efficient wind turbines, safer buildings and even better microscopes.

The five-year project has received £4.2m funding from the EPSRC.

The current problem, explained project director Prof David Wagg, head of structural dynamics at Bristol’s mechanical engineering department, is that design tools — even advanced finite-element analysis systems — can only deal with structures that react linearly to the forces that act on them. ‘But in the real world, things are more complex,’ he said. ‘For example, if you’re dealing with a large wind turbine rotor, the blades will bend under their own weight, even when they’re static. When they’re moving, their behaviour becomes much harder to model, and you have to avoid a situation where they’d flex so much that they could actually hit the supporting tower.’

Full article from The Engineer

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Engineering projects awarded £13.6m by EPSRC

The Engineer – 13 September 2012

Three engineering research projects have been awarded grants totalling £13.6m to help solve major problems facing the UK.

The research, funded by Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), will investigate re-using carbon, the fundamental design of major infrastructure constructs, and the way in which the complex behaviour of fluid flows are predicted.

Full article from The Engineer

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EPSRC: Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council