Visakha Raja

How do we describe and evaluate the designs for complex aero-engine components?

Visakha Raja, Industrial PhD student at Product Development​ IMS, defends his doctoral thesis on June 3.
Title: How do we describe and evaluate the designs for complex aero-engine components? 

2019-06-03 09:00
Room EC, Hörsalsvägen 11, Göteborg
Opponent: Associate Professor Marija Jankovic, Industrial Engineering, CentraleSupélec, Paris
Examiner: Ola Isaksson, Product Development IMS

An aero engine is a complex piece of equipment and the components inside it, such as the compressors, turbines and associated structural frames share this complexity. Designing components is difficult, not just due to the complexity but also due to the incremental nature of aero-engine development. It is not easy to pick out which component regions are interconnected in what ways, and to say exactly which regions satisfy what functions for the engine. This calls for development of methods to visually describe and quantitatively evaluate how an engine component satisfies its functional requirements. Moreover, addressing sustainability challenges demands radical improvements in present engine designs or proposal of new designs. As the engines in operation today are highly optimized, novel means must be identified to improve present designs or propose new designs. Good design builds on good methods and this research was focused on improving and adapting design methods for aero engine components such as its structural frames.

A component level improvement in design that results in, say reducing aircraft fuel consumption even by 0.05%, can save several thousand USD for an airline company per year, and can reduce the environmental impact of aviation. Methods developed in this thesis identifies critical functions that an engine component satisfies and discover previously unseen inter-relationships among its functions. The methods also enable storing information about established designs and using it as a starting point for future designs. An un-complicated connection with manufacturing is also facilitated by providing a way for assessing the influence of different manufacturing options on component operation. Furthermore, by the development of a metric of complexity for engine components such as its structural frames, the research supports the comparison, optimization, and selection of various engine component designs. Together, the methods developed in this thesis will enhance a development engineer’s ability to evaluate alternative component designs and select the most suitable one. 

This thesis will be of interest to both practicing engineers and researchers concerned with engineering design in general and aero-engine component design in particular. 

Published: Mon 20 May 2019.