Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) Condition Monitoring - PhD Studentship

Cranfield University - Manufacturing

Start Date: ASAP
Eligibility: UK, EU
Duration of award: 3 years 
Supervisors: Professor Ian Jennions, Dr Manuel Esperon Miguez

Sponsored by The Boeing Company this studentship will provide a bursary of up to £20,000 p.a. (tax free) plus fees* for three years for the right candidate.

The Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) is one of the main drivers for unscheduled maintenance in both civil and military aircraft. The APU is a complex system comprised of the gas turbine, gearbox, generator, and attached accessories including pumps, air control valves, starters, ignition, door actuators, etc. The limited number of sensors on a modern APU provides little information about its condition, which makes it difficult to detect and isolate faults suffered by the individual components. This is compounded by the APU being a combination of a number of different sub-subsystems, and the desire to locate which specific component might be in need of attention.

The objectives of the PhD are given by:

  1. Identify the APU failure / schedule interrupt drivers, by accessing airline repair data and literature review.
  2. Assess the current state of automated detection, isolation and prediction (on- and off-board).
  3. Review assessment and identified targeted components with Boeing and their customers.
  4. Utilise existing AHM data, along with physics and domain knowledge, to produce models (simulation) of an APU. These may be physical as well as functional.
  5. Identify monitors / sensors needed to fill coverage gaps.
  6. Create diagnostic and prognostic approaches for primary failures.
  7. Implement approach on Cranfield’s 737-400, using wireless data collection, evaluate performance.
  8. Validate the model and health management approach.

As a part of working in this industrially sponsored project, the student will work in close collaboration with Boeing. He/she will need to present their research findings regularly to the project team.

Entry requirements:
Applicants should have a first or second class UK honours degree or equivalent in a related discipline, such as engineering. The ideal candidate should have some understanding of the areas of engineering analysis (stress, fluids, thermal, etc), a broad interest in aerospace and a desire to work on industrial problems. The candidate should be self-motivated, and have good communication skills for regular interaction with other stakeholders.

* To be eligible for this funding you must be a UK or EU national.

How to apply:
For further information please contact: Dr Manuel Esperon Miguez, E:, T: (0) 1234 754057

If you are eligible to apply for this research studentship, please complete the online application form

For further information contact us today:
T: 44 (0)1234 758008

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