PhD Studentship: Articulated Splined Couplings for Future Aero Gas-turbine Engines

University of Nottingham - Engineering

Closing Date: 

Monday 21 August 2017



Applications are sought for a PhD-level study at the University of Nottingham addressing the specific engineering details of a new class of splined couplings transmitting very large quantities of mechanical power through a very compact space. The successful candidate will have a first-class or upper second-class honours degree in mechanical engineering.

Because this is an “Industrial CASE” studentship, the position is open to UK nationals only and it will attract a stipend of at least £17K per annum for three years. The position arises from a very long-standing engineering research relationship between University of Nottingham and Rolls-Royce plc. Nottingham University hosts two of the (~30) University Technology Centres (UTCs) used by the company as the main engines of its engineering research and development. Nottingham’s UTC in gas turbine transmissions systems will host this studentship and the candidate will sit within a community of ~20 PhD students at various stages of their study. There will also be very substantial interaction with partner UTCs at the University of Oxford and Imperial College and the person appointed will have substantial opportunity to spend several short periods working at the company and/or to have significant interaction with an expert technical customer throughout the study.  

Substantial work has already been undertaken at Nottingham and Oxford to understand the important considerations in the design of conventional high power density spline joints that are relevant in the core of gas turbine engines. The new study will address a new challenge that arises in the development of the Rolls-Royce “UltraFan” engine. The “UltraFan” marks a substantial change in engine architecture from the existing family of Trent engines driven by ever more ambitious targets for fuel efficiency. A key feature of the “UltraFan” engine is that the fan has very large diameter and must be driven relatively slowly but the driving shaft spins more quickly so that a gearbox is needed between the two. Power must be fed into this gearbox via a splined couplings because it must be possible to assemble and disassemble the engine. Conventional designs of couplings are not suitable because this coupling must allow some relative (diametral) angular motion between the two sides. The PhD scope will include wear and surface degradation, rotordynamics and some computational modelling embracing multi-physics phenomena.

Applications are requested by August 21, 2017. Any clarifications can be sought from but applications will be accepted via the formal system only. Interviews are likely to be held on Sept 6, 2017 and the successful candidate will receive confirmation very shortly afterwards.

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Midlands of England