Since the UK Aerodynamics Centre was announced in March 2012, which has now been incorperated into the aerodynamics pillar for ATI, considerable progress has been made in advancing its aims which are to:
- achieve a step change in the UK's capability in complex aerodynamics by creating a virtual centre to develop and deploy the UK's strategy for aerodynamics
- bring greater coherence to the UK's existing aerodynamics capabilities across industry and academia
- push the technological boundaries of aerodynamics by channelling funds to those best placed to execute R&D
- showcase the UK's capabilities in complex aerodynamics to the global market and to demonstrate the UK as an attractive location to carry out activities requiring strong aerodynamics capabilities.
Advanced aerodynamics will be critical to achieving a step change in performance of tomorrow's aircraft. Smoother wings with new aerodynamic shapes will enable smoother, ‘laminar' flow with reduced drag to take aircraft to new levels of aerodynamic efficiency. Future aircraft configurations will also need to have new aerodynamic shapes that are highly developed to deliver unprecedented levels of performance and efficiency from the time they are introduced to the market.
- To get the full benefits of laminar flow aerodynamic improvements, there is a read-across to aerostructures to give improved build tolerances and new joining technologies. Laminar flow requires surfaces that are smoother, with fewer steps, gaps or contamination than the surfaces that can typically be manufactured currently. Even the countersunk rivets and bolts that are commonly used today cannot be relied upon to deliver the consistent, repeatable levels of smoothness required.
- New aircraft configurations will demand sophisticated aerodynamic concepts with a high level of integration and functionality.
- Development of high fidelity aerodynamic models of new configurations using high performance computing to de-risk novel engine and airframe concepts.
- UK future wing design and manufacture to integrate new product concepts and enabling technologies.
- Integrated and multifunctional aerodynamic de-risking demonstrators.
These themes are reflected in the following projects which are now up and running following the creation of the UK Aerodynamics Centre:
- Advanced Integrated Wing Optimisation
- Structural Technology Maturity
- Integrated Turboprop Propulsion Systems
- Experimental Aerodynamics
- Aircraft Research Association Research & Development
- Aircraft Research Association Capital Equipment
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