The Royal Aeronautical Society recently conferred a silver medal on the University of Cape Town’s (UCT) Aircraft Fuel Tank Component Design team for the application of their research work in computational fluid dynamics (CFD).
The Royal Aeronautical Society is a British professional institution founded in 1866, making it the oldest aeronautical society in the world. The society confers a silver medal annually to multidisciplinary teams who have made “major contributions to the advancement of aerospace art, science and engineering”.
This year the society awarded a silver medal to the Aircraft Fuel Tank Component Design team in UCT’s Department of Mechanical Engineering for the application of their novel Elemental® CFD software.
“It is a great honour to be recognised in this way by the UK Royal Aeronautical Society.”
“It is a great honour to be recognised in this way by the UK Royal Aeronautical Society, a society which was established over 150 years ago! Definitely a career highlight that UCT is seen here as making such a major contribution to society,” said Professor Arnaud Malan, who holds the South African Research Chair in Industrial Computational Fluid Dynamics.
The team’s focus on the application of Elemental® to deepen the understanding of complex aircraft fuel slosh loads resulted in significant reductions in the manufacturing complexity and cost of the largest-selling Airbus A320 aircraft.
“The unprecedented accuracy of Elemental® allowed for a new level of understanding of fuel sloshing effects on the aircraft structure, resulting in a lighter and more optimised component of the inner fuel tank,” explained Professor Malan.
The design team consists of Malan, Dr Leon Malan, Dr Bevan Jones and Niran Ilangakoon, with the Airbus complement consisting of Francesco Gambioli and Mark Narraway.
Elemental®, the brainchild of Malan, is the result of a concerted development effort over several years. The focus has been on establishing state-of-the-art CFD modelling tools and CFD-based innovation via fundamental research.
Airbus has been a premier client, and the funded collaboration driven by Gambioli has been a significant contributor to the industrial impact of the technology.
The UCT–Airbus collaboration ultimately resulted in the formation of the Aircraft Fuel Tank Component Design team.
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