Computational Mechanics and Reliability
This Group uses computational techniques to help predict, diagnose and solve a number of problems across a large cross-section of industries. Some of their pioneering work has included:
- the conservation of The Cutty Sark
- virtual prototyping and stress analysis projects
- predicting the behaviour and reliability of advanced digital systems containing electronics, photonics and nano-technology
The Cutty Sark
Plans are in place to restore this historical vessel and raise it, so a new visitor museum can be housed underneath. The extent of that work, and the impact of a recent fire on-board, has made it even more important to be able to predict the structural behaviour of the ship during the conservation programme.
Through virtual prototyping and stress analysis work, the Group were able to draw an accurate digital model of the ship and then predict how it would react to different forces such as weight, temperature, humidity, etc. Those models are helping to guide the restoration efforts and have the ability to predict the structural behaviour of the ship, as well as how to maintain it, for at least another 50 years.
Working with advanced digital systems
The Group works with high technology industries to predict the behaviour and reliability of advanced digital systems containing electronics, photonics and nano-technology, which are increasingly being adopted in safety critical applications such as aerospace and medical devices.
The breadth of experience and knowledge within the Group, enables them to predict the reliability of real world applications such as air traffic control monitors, or advanced electronic components in an Airbus aircraft.
Companies will often employ the Group to test a product they have designed before they go ahead with a physical prototype, which can be very expensive. The Group's virtual prototyping and data reliability models can help companies learn more about their products so they can give a warranty or guarantee with greater certainty.
They do a lot of work with aircraft and car clients, where they have studied the length of time engine components will last - an area of paramount importance. One particular project involved working with Rolls Royce and General Electric to develop prognostic software, which can predict when parts will need replacing up to six months in advance.
Funding for small to medium enterprises
As well as working with large companies, the Group also receives funding to support small to medium enterprises. That funding comes primarily from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTP).