Research Studentship in Active control of fluid flows in gas turbines - Control of tip leakage flow dynamics

3-year funded D.Phil studentship, available from Rolls-Royce

(subject to eligibility requirements below).

Research Area

This studentship is part of a larger project funded by the EPSRC and Rolls-Royce. The global appetite for power and for efficient transportation is increasing as nations industrialise and populations grow. This application is about making engines more efficient using game changing technology that enables sophisticated computer control of engine thermodynamic cycles. This research will address the technological building blocks required for computer controlled manipulation of power generating fluid flows.

The technical difficulties of modulating engine flows can be immense but the prize for control substantial. For example, the leakage flows at the tip of a gas turbine blade and the cooling airflows in a combustion chamber contribute significantly to engine fuel burn and emissions respectively. One way to improve the gas turbine efficiency is to try to reduce the amount of leakage flow at the tip of a gas turbine blade, by actively injecting air from the turbine segments into the tip gap.

This project will consider the general problem of controlling flow dynamics in the tip gap region by means of air injection from the segments. We will develop the reduced order models of such a system based on the CFD simulations, before investigating control architecture and the corresponding control algorithms for the problem. Finally the student will have the opportunity to evaluate the effectiveness of the algorithms on the Oxford High Speed Rotor facility as part of the larger project.

Award Value

The studentship covers University fees at the level set for UK/EU students plus provides a stipend (tax-free maintenance grant) of £15,000 for the first year, and at least this amount for a further two years.


The studentship is available to all applicants but University fees are covered only at the UK/EU rate.  Therefore overseas students would have to provide the difference between UK/EU and overseas student rates for University fees, from some other source.

Candidate Requirements

Prospective candidates will be judged according to how well they meet the following criteria:

  • A first class honours degree in Engineering, Physics or equivalent
  • Experience of control theory
  • Experience of fluid dynamics
  • Ability to program in MATLAB/Simulink
  • Good English written and spoken communication skills;
  • Excellent record of academic and/or professional achievement

The following skills are desirable but not essential:

  • Experience of data acquisition software

Application Procedure

To apply for this studentship, candidates should submit the following documents to

  • CV
  • Covering letter (explaining your suitability for the study, what you hope to achieve from the DPhil and your research experience to date)
  • Contact details for two academic or professional referees

Candidates are expected to meet the Graduate Admissions criteria available at:

Your application will not be considered unless you also submit a full graduate application at the same time as applying for this studentship.  Further details about making a graduate application are available at

Please quote FLOWCONTROL-MB-RS2 in all correspondence to the Department and in your graduate application.

Informal enquiries may be addressed to Please note that applications sent directly to this email address will not be accepted. 

Application deadline:  12 noon on Friday 27th February 2015 or until the position is filled