Engineering uses mathematical models to test hypotheses and to design structures to meet those parameters. The above tools have been supplanted by CAD/CAM systems. While the new computer based systems have produced vastly superior results, more sophisticated methods are needed. Science and engineering have known for decades that all phenomena cannot be defined in linear relationships, but the computers have not developed the ability to replicate those non-linear conditions.
The attached article from Flight announces that Dr. David Wagg, professor of structural dynamics, is leading a team of academics at University of Bristol and allied researchers to develop a new set of mathematical tools for engineers. The funding is a £4.2 million ($6.7 million), five-year grant from the UK government’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. This is exciting news from the academic world.
While there are many mathematical tools for modeling linear systems, the tools for non-linear performance are limited. The state-of-the-art design technique is, essentially, to avoid non-linearity. Wagg explains “The complexity of modern designs has outstripped our ability to fully understand their dynamic behaviour.” In order to achieve some of the performance targets being set for next-generation aircraft, non-linear models will have to be improved.
The next stage in non-linear modeling Wagg may be achieved in six months to two years. The major gains will require a full five years. A commercially-valuable result, though, could be a five – to 10-year project.Share this article: