New Prosperity Partnership to develop world first in high-fidelity engineering simulations

Author: Michele Weiland
Posted: 5 Nov 2018 | 14:44

A consortium led by Rolls-Royce and EPCC was recently awarded an EPSRC Prosperity Partnership worth £14.7m to develop the next generation of engineering simulation and modelling techniques, with the aim of developing the world’s first high-fidelity simulation of a complete gas-turbine engine during operation.

The five-year “Strategic Partnership in Computational Science for Advanced Simulation and Modelling of Virtual Systems” (ASiMoV for short) is embarking on an extremely challenging programme of research to enable this level of simulation. It will require breakthroughs at all levels (mathematics, algorithms, software, and security) and uniquely combines fundamental engineering and computational science research to address a challenge that is well beyond the capabilities of today’s state of the art.

The ultimate long-term goal of the research is to enable the “virtual certification” of aero engines, be they gas-turbine, hybrid or fully electric, by 2030. The journey to virtual certification requires a thorough evidential database to convince the certification authorities that the analysis can be trusted. For example, engine manufacturers working with the FAA have successfully replaced the large bird-strike certification test with analysis - it took around ten years to obtain FAA approval for virtual certification. Virtual certification is not a single well-defined milestone to be reached by 2030 however. The necessary simulation capability is essential, but so is the evidential basis for trusting the simulation.

Requirements for speed, fidelity and accuracy are well beyond current simulation and high performance computing capability. Where simulations can be carried out at all, they do not meet fidelity requirements and take weeks or even months to complete. True virtual certification simulations will therefore require new high-resolution physical models and full system simulations that drive us from today’s model sizes (with 10-100 million cells) towards models with trillions of cells. A result will be the need for techniques that can exploit future computing platforms and the unprecedented amounts of data they consume and produce, robustly, securely and affordably.

This is a transformational change requiring a transformational collaboration, and we are delighted to be leading the Partnership.

In addition to Edinburgh, the Prosperity Partnership includes four Universities (Bristol, Cambridge, Oxford and Warwick) as well as two SMEs, CFMS and Zenotech.

Image by Rolls-Royce.

Author

Michèle Weiland, EPCC