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Swansea University College Of Engineering Centenary Scholarship: Innovative Flow Control For Flatback Airfoil

Swansea University - Aerospace Engineering

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Swansea
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students, International Students
Funding amount: £14,296 p.a.
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 10th January 2019
Closes: 28th February 2019

Subject areas: Aerospace Engineering, Experimental Aerodynamics, Wind Energy, Shape Optimization

Project description: The present project offers the unique opportunity to develop an innovative flow control solution with industrial application using state of the art experimental facilities and in-house numerical software. The final aim of the PhD is to design and develop passive and active flow control devices for wind turbine flatback airfoils. 

The current trend in the wind energy industry is to upscale Horizontal Axis Wind Turbine designs up to 20MW in order to reduce the levelised cost of energy. As rotors grow, it becomes a huge challenge to design blades that are light and have adequate stiffness and structural strength at the same time.

One of the proposed solutions is the use of flatback airfoils, i.e. airfoils with blunt trailing edge, for the inner and thicker part of the blades. Flatback profiles provide both structural and aerodynamic improvements, which can lead to blade designs as efficient, but up to 16% lighter. Their drawback is that they have increased drag values due to their blunt trailing edge. Reducing this drag value by means of trailing edge devices can lead to further performance gains. 

This PhD project will focus on the development of an innovative drag reduction device based on a very recent proof of concept study. For design of the new device state-of-the-art experimental techniques and extensive wind tunnel tests will be used along with in-house computational shape optimisation software. 

Project supervisors: Dr Marinos Manolesos, Dr Ben Evans 

Available resources/facilities: Wind Tunnel Facility and Equipment, In-house optimization software, Swansea HPC 


Candidates should hold a first or upper second class (2.1) honours degree and/or MSc in Aeronautical/Mechanical Engineering or similar. 

Wind tunnel testing experience and programming skills for data analysis are required. 

We would normally expect the academic and English Language requirements to be met by point of application. For details on the University’s English Language entry requirements, please visit – 

The scholarship covers the full cost of tuition fees and an annual stipend for UK/EU candidates but tuition fees only for international candidates.

Funding Information

UK/EU candidates: The scholarship covers the full cost of UK/EU tuition fees and an annual stipend of £14,296.

International candidates: The scholarship covers the full cost of tuition fees only.

There will be additional funds available for research expenses.

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