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PhD Thesis: “Improved Robustness and Efficiency for 3D aircraft in-flight icing simulations for Industrial Application”

AeroTex GmbH is a world-class consultancy business in the field of aircraft in-flight icing. We provide our services to a wide range of customers and are involved in fundamental research, support to Tier 1 suppliers and OEMs for ice protection systems, and perform icing wind tunnel testing around the globe. AeroTex GmbH is based in Vienna, Austria. The company was founded in 2018 by Richard Moser, who has more than 20 years’ experience in aircraft icing.

We use a suite of internal simulation tools to support our customers, which we are constantly improving. As such, we invite applications for a PhD thesis entitled: “Improved Robustness and Efficiency for 3D aircraft in-flight icing simulations for Industrial Application”.

3D-ICESIM Project

AeroTex, as part of a consortium led by FH Joanneum and including AIIS (Austrian Institute for icing Sciences) and RTA (RailTec Arsenal Climatic Test Facility) and (SNU) Seoul National University, have been successful in obtaining funding from FFG for a project titled 3D-ICESIM. This will be a 3-year project, commencing in January 2023. Under this project, AeroTex have included costs to support a PhD project.

The abstract related to the project proposal is as follows:

Aircraft icing usually occurs when aircraft fly through clouds which contain so called supercooled droplets. This term stands for liquid droplets with temperatures below their freezing point. If such supercooled droplets hit aircraft surfaces, they can freeze, which results in ice accretion. Regrettably, even within the recent past years, several incidents and accidents occurred because of ice accretion. The aerospace industry must develop sustainable, cost efficient and safe ice protection systems, and prove their functionality during strict certification procedures. State of the art methods to determine and characterize ice formations on aircraft structures include performing experimental tests (inside icing wind tunnels or in natural or artificial icing conditions during flight tests) and 2D simulation tools. The experimental methods are time and cost consuming and because of their uncertainties result in strongly conservative system designs.

The 3D-ICESIM project aims to develop a well validated 3D icing code as solution. A well validated 3D icing code would be of great benefit to the development process of new ice protection systems and innovative aircraft. It can reduce the required test effort in icing wind tunnels and flight tests substantially, as well as improve and speed up the development process. In addition to the resulting time and cost savings, there is also a positive effect for the climate and the environment. Optimizations in testing and more efficient ice protection systems reduce energy consumption and emissions considerably.

The requirement therefore is a strong long-term cooperation in the field of 3D ice code development. The 3D-ICESIM project enables this and makes it possible to maintain and strengthen competitiveness, targeting industry and research applications in an international environment. The existing icing codes developed by FH JOANNEUM, AeroTex and Seoul National University are merged and jointly improved. Experimental documentation methods are developed to increase the output of icing tests significantly. This includes water impingement measurements, the determination of local ice density as well as the measurement of the local heat transfer coefficient.

High-quality 3D validation data is generated during an icing wind tunnel test campaign at RTA. The tests are captured with the newly developed methods as well as with state-of-the-art documentation methods like 3D and 4D scanning. The validation data is evaluated appropriately and integrated into the world’s largest online and searchable validation database for experimental icing tests.

The following three top-level goals are defined:

1) Merging the existing simulation tools (FHJ, ATX and SNU) and group the code development capacities to generate advanced 3D ice accretion tools.

2) Development of new and enhanced experimental documentation methods to enable the generation of high-quality validation data.

3) Generation and evaluation of high-quality 3D validation data.

PhD Topic

The PhD will focus on the development of numerical models covering several important areas of 3D simulation, including water droplet tracking and impingement, water film development and motion, and convective heat transfer. Development in these areas is on-going around the world, and AeroTex requires the development and implementation of novel methods to maintain its position as a leading service provider. There will be a strong focus on ensuring robustness and efficiency of the methods so that they are applicable in an industrial environment. It is envisaged that the OpenFOAM framework will provide the baseline for the tool development.

Experimental data gathered during the 3D-ICESIM project will be used to verify and validate the methods developed under the PhD.

Required qualifications

What we offer

AeroTex is an equal opportunities employer and we welcome applications from anyone with suitable qualifications.

Please submit your application documents, including CV and introduction letter, to phd(at)aerotex.at.

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