Project Ref: NGCM-0092
Supervisor: Dr. Angelo Niko Grubisic (80%)
Research Group: Astronautics research group
Co-supervisor: FEE, Astronautics research group Dr. Sharif Ahmed (20%)
Research Area: Computational Engineering
Project Description: The project aims to develop a novel high performance refractory metal resistojet thruster as a mission enabling thruster for the Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd. spacecraft product line. Resistojets significantly improve the performance of traditional cold gas propulsion systems by electrically heating the propellant. This has enabled numerous missions including the European GPS Galileo Testbed (GSTB) GIOVE validation satellites. Conventional resistojets operate <1000C, however since xenon is a heavy propellant the performance demands for the xenon resistojet concept elevates this requirement close to 3,000C, representing novel materials and design challenges.This project plans to design and further develop a very high performance resistojet (VHTR) suitable for this role in order to enable all-electric spacecraft for the European market. The resistojet has been developed to TRL3 by funding under the National Space Technology Programme as a breadboard model thruster. The PhD will focus on moving to refractory additive manufacturing and verification of a high performance engineering model thruster. The project is multifaceted and highly interdisciplinary requiring: advanced coupled multiphysics modelling including: laminar and turbulent flow dynamics and heat transfer/mixing, high Mach number flows, Joule heating, radiative, conductive and convective heat exchange, structural vibration and shock simulation; manufacturing with advanced materials and processes including selective laser melting additive manufacturing of high temperature heat exchangers; post manufacturing verification through CT analysis in order to develop accurate 3D mesh for open foam CFD simulation. In addition, post manufacturing surface scanning for roughness characterisation as an input for open foam CFD in CT scanned geometry; validation thruster performance testing and vibration testing with measurement diagnostics within the University of Southampton Astronautics Laboratory Thermal Vacuum Chamber and Vibration Shaker.The ideal candidate should hold a first class degree in applied physics, engineering or materials with a strong analytical background. Preference will be for knowledge of CFD applications with the ability to develop simulations and multiphysics modelling packages such as COMSOL. Experience in additive manufacturing is highly preferred. In addition, strong experimental experience is highly preferred since a large part of the project will be conducting experimental performance analysis. The candidate will interface regularly with Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd.
If you wish to discuss any details of the project informally, please contact Dr. Angelo Grubisic, Astronautics research group, Email: A.Grubisic@soton.ac.uk, Tel: +44 (0) 2380 59 2313.
Keywords: Aeronautical Engineerin, Applied Mathematics, Applied Physics, Computer Science, Fluid Dynamics, Materials Science, Mechanical Engineering
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