About the Project

You will simulate the coupled aerothermal-mechanical performance of passive-active-regenerative cooling (PARC) systems for emerging hypersonic rocket engines. Funding is provided by EPSRC as part of the UK’s ambitious £1bn endeavour to create hypersonic knowledge and capabilities by 2030.

PARC systems are crucial for increasing the Mach number, the survivability, and the maneuverability of hypersonic vehicles and this project could enable UK to manufacture supreme ramjet-scramjet1 and rotary detonation engines2, by accommodating extreme aerothermal heating with minimum fuel/weight on board. PARC systems combine an outer passive layer (ceramic) and an inner active-regenerative layer (refractory/alloy metal) where liquid hydrogen runs through cooling channels before being injected for combustion3.

You will build on our work on conjugate Finite Element (FE)-Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) modelling of transpiration cooling systems for gas turbine blades3-4 to deliver new cutting-edge coupled heat transfer-stress FE-CFD simulations for PARC systems in real hypersonic engine environments. You will explore the coupled design challenge associated with hydrogen coolant flow5, thermomechanical stresses3-5, and hydrogen diffusion-embrittlement6 of ultra-high temperature materials. Outcomes of this project are directly transferable to a range of emerging technologies, including hydrogen fuelled gas turbines for civil aircraft5-6 and reusable rocket engines2. We seek to make substantial scientific contributions to the structural integrity design and failure assessment of materials and structures that experience extremely harsh thermomechanical loads in corrosive hydrogen environment.

Funding is available for the student to enjoy a unique set of benefits and opportunities:

1.    Generous stipend enhancement aimed at candidates with strong background in heat transfer and solid or fluid mechanics, with desirable experience in FEA or CFD analysis.

2.    Participation at centralised training and cohort activities coordinated by the UK Hypersonic Technologies Champion at the University of Oxford (funds available for mandatory attendance of 15 coordination 2-day meetings at Oxford).

3.    Short-term research placement at Oxford Hypersonics group for accessing expertise in CFD modelling (additional funds are available for attending CFD software training).

4.    Close collaboration with researchers within King’s who will work on highly relevant projects and free usage of state-of-the-art computing facilities (workstation, HPC, software licences, e.g., Ansys, Abaqus).

5.    Participation at international conferences.

6.    Joint supervision by Dr Skamniotis and Dr Richard Jefferson-Loveday to guide you on learning theory and developing computational modelling skills across allied engineering disciplines (heat transfer, solid mechanics, fluid dynamics, diffusion).

You will hold/or at least a UK Bachelor Degree 2:1 in mechanical engineering, mechanics of materials, materials science, software engineering, mathematics or relevant subject. You must be a British, USA or Australian national (i.e. “a AUKUS national”) and obtain Baseline Personnel Security Standard (BPSS) security clearance carried out by an independent organisation.

nformal enquiries may be addressed by email to Dr Christos Skamniotis, christos.skamniotis@kcl.ac.uk.

**********************************************************

Application:

To be considered for the position candidates must apply via King’s Apply online application system. Details are available at: https://www.kcl.ac.uk/engineering/postgraduate/research-degrees

Please apply for Engineering Research (MPhil/PhD) and indicate your desired supervisor Dr Christos Skamniotis, the project title and reference HypDTP02 in your application and all correspondence.

The selection process will involve a pre-selection on documents, if selected this will be followed by an invitation to an interview. If successful at the interview, an offer will be provided in due time.

Applicants should read the project description along with the cited references and then submit:

1) The required qualification documents

2) A cover letter outlining and demonstrating how their qualifications, experience, and interests make them suitable to pursue the research outlined above, including possible ideas for how they might focus the work on particular questions;

3) Ideally two reference letters

Further information here: https://www.kcl.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/how-to-apply

In the funding section of the application use “Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC, http://www.epsrc.ac.uk)”

Interviews will take place on a rolling basis with an expected start date of October 2024. Applications will be considered in the order that they are received, the position will be considered filled when a suitable candidate has been identified.


Funding Notes

The studentship will be funded at UKRI enhanced stipend rates paid for 4 years (for 2024/2025 this is £24,237 per annum, including London allowance). The studentship will also cover Fees for four years.

The student will be expected to submit their thesis by the end of the 4th year and the writing up period is included within the funding period. There will be support funding for equipment and conference attendance.

You must be a British, USA or Australian national (i.e. “a AUKUS national”) and obtain Baseline Personnel Security Standard (BPSS) security clearance carried out by an independent organisation.


References

1. Zhang, S., et al., Research progress on active thermal protection for hypersonic vehicles. Progress in Aerospace Sciences, 2020. 119: p. 100646.
2. Jorgensen, E., Z. Cordero, and D. Vaccaro. Structural Optimization of Regeneratively Cooled Rotating Detonation Rocket Engines. in AIAA SCITECH 2022 Forum. 2022.
3. Skamniotis, C., N. Grilli, and A.C. Cocks, Crystal plasticity analysis of fatigue-creep behavior at cooling holes in single crystal Nickel based gas turbine blade components. International Journal of Plasticity, 2023. 166: p. 103589.
4. Skamniotis, C., M. Courtis, and A.C. Cocks, Multiscale analysis of thermomechanical stresses in double wall transpiration cooling systems for gas turbine blades. International Journal of Mechanical Sciences, 2021. 207: p. 106657.
5. de la Torre, R., J.-L. François, and C.-X. Lin, Design analysis of a printed circuit heat exchanger for HTGR using a 3D finite elements model. Nuclear Engineering and Design, 2023. 407: p. 112270.
6. Zhang, Z., et al., Combined effects of stress and temperature on hydrogen diffusion in non-hydride forming alloys applied in gas turbines. international journal of hydrogen energy, 2022. 47(71): p. 30687-30706.