Group design project
This is the project that brings together everything you’ve learnt through previous projects. It also unites all of the theoretical knowledge you’ve picked up in your taught units and applies it to the design of an aircraft, helicopter or spacecraft.
Assessment includes individual and group reports, as well as a series of presentations made to our industrial partners. Soft skills, including presentation skills, are critical, and this project is an excellent route for your development in this area. You will meet and present to industrial staff who carry out this work in the real engineering world.
Every fundamental choice is considered in this work. Exactly how many passengers will be carried – and how far? What Mach number will the aircraft fly at? How much will the undercarriage weight? How will the wing structure be designed?
Team members are divided between technical disciplines such as aerodynamics, structures and dynamics/control.
Working with AgustaWestland you will work to carry out the preliminary design study for a rotorcraft - be it a tilt-rotor, UAV or helicopter. You will need to specify the weights of the helicopter, overall configuration, rotor design and consider the vibrational behaviour.
Previous projects have included helicopters for heavy-lift, supply and transport for oil/gas rigs and fast reconnaissance UAVs. The illustration here is the outcome of our most recent project, and shows a small, lightweight unmanned rotorcraft designed for supply missions in remote areas.
Working with Airbus Defence and Space you will work to carry out the preliminary design study for a new spacecraft. This is a different set of challenges to the rotary and fixed wing projects, but one which you can tackle using the toolset you have acquired. Previous work has included scientific missions to Mars and telecommunications satellites.
How much will your spacecraft weight? Will it get too hot in the sun’s rays? Will it get too cold in darkness? What are the power and cooling requirements? How will solar panels unfurl? How will it be packaged in the launcher? The technical details of these problems will require you to adapt and extend what you have learnt in your degree to the challenges of space.
The space content is taught by Dr Lucy Berthoud. We think it is particularly important that our staff are at the forefront of their fields and Lucy has an especially diverse background in space engineering. Watch her 'Best of Bristol' lecture, 'The best-selling show: Is there life on Mars?'