Applying mechanical engineering to aeronautics
The increasingly strict regulations on environmental impact, fuel consumption, emissions and noise are major challenges for the aeronautical sector, particularly as the demand for air travel in the next decade(s) is still expected to increase by several percentage points each year. In addition, the nature of the required air mobility is rapidly changing in line with urban mobility demands, driving the development of a wide range of air transport vehicles: from large-scale planes carrying hundreds of passengers to single-passenger or small urban mobility vehicles, and unmanned aerial vehicles for many different purposes. Each vehicle requires optimization for functionality and environmental impact and has specific challenges in the areas of structural design, maintenance, propulsion, aerodynamics and control, (aero)acoustics and noise minimization, which often involves cutting-edge scientific knowledge translated into the new technology such as light-weight multifunctional meta-materials.
Aeronautical engineering is the frontrunner in the development of new high-tech applications. Theories, analysis by computer simulations, design methodology, testing methods, production methods, safety and maintenance standards, materials and products developed in the aeronautical sector are often used later, sometimes in adapted form, in other engineering applications.
The Aeronautics specialisation at UT aims to educate versatile mechanical engineers, well-equipped to contribute to new fundamental knowledge of aerodynamics. Aspects of the specialisation are:
- Innovation and optimization of aircraft designs;
- The design and operation of vehicles for urban air mobility and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for different purposes;
- Embedding new technologies of production;
- Energy storage or energy harvesting related to electric propulsion;
- The design of new multifunctional materials combining structural integrity, noise control and energy storage.
One of the key aspects of the specialisation is that it is embedded in a mechanical engineering environment with internationally-acclaimed scientists and specialists in a wide range of relevant disciplines. The specialisation is a challenging programme that addresses the fundamentals of physics and engineering and discusses the latest developments in applied and interdisciplinary fields and at the frontiers of existing knowledge and technology.
The specialisation offers the possibility to complete an internship at a wide range of companies and institutes in the aeronautical sector. MSc assignments can be done in the research groups and departments related to:
- Fluid dynamics and computational fluid dynamics;
- Experimental aerodynamics/aero-acoustics;
- Thermal engineering;
- Materials and control;
- Fluid mechanics of materials;
- Production and management.
The assignments can be done internally at the University of Twente, with access to the excellent experimental and computational facilities of the faculty, as well as externally at institutional and industrial partners through our excellent national and international network of collaborations. Examples include:
- The National Aerospace Laboratory of the Netherlands (NLR) and similar institutes abroad;
- Industrial partners involved in a component or structural design;
- Full aircraft manufacturers (OEM).
For a select number of students, the specialisation also offers the possibility of a double degree in Mechanical Engineering and Aeronautical Engineering with the renowned Brazilian Instituto Tecnológico de Aeronáutica (ITA).
The specialisation prepares students for a career in industry and design or further specialisation as a PhD student in a specific area of physics or engineering and a career in science.