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Job Record #19178
TitlePhD in Thermal Management for Future Aerospace Propulsion
CategoryPhD Studentship
EmployerHeriot Watt University
LocationUnited Kingdom, Edinburgh
InternationalYes, international applications are welcome
Closure DateMonday, July 22, 2024
Global targets to cut carbon-dioxide emissions by 2050 are pushing forward the 
development of sustainable aircraft.  If action is not taken, the annual 
atmospheric CO2 emissions from aviation are expected to grow 67% by 2050 [1].  
While small sub-regional aircraft are seeing transition to fully electric 
propulsion systems, significant technological development is needed to 
decarbonise larger regional, narrowbody, and widebody aircraft. Based on current 
trends, it has been predicted that the regional aircraft market will see the 
first use of hydrogen technology in service with the use of hydrogen fuel cell 
architectures as early as 2035 [2]. 

Converting hydrogen fuel and oxygen into electricity using reverse electrolysis, 
hydrogen fuel cells are not without their challenges. Despite the high energy 
density of hydrogen, its very low volumetric energy density is problematic for 
aircraft applications, particularly in terms of fuel storage. While many 
industrial players and academic researchers focus on this on this challenge, a 
lesser-known challenge lies in the large quantities of heat generated by 
hydrogen fuel cell stacks.  According to Scholz et al. [3], the amount of heat 
produced by Proton Exchange Membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs) is of the same order of 
magnitude as the electrical power produced. Adapting and optimising fuel cell 
cooling and thermal management systems specifically for aerospace applications 
presents a significant technical challenge.  

[1] FlyZero Aerospace Technology Institute (2022) Market Forecasts & Strategy. 
Available at:
0043-Market-Forecasts-and-Strategy.pdf (Accessed 13 March 2024)
[2] FlyZero Aerospace Technology Institute (2022) Technology Roadmaps. Available 
Technology-Roadmaps.pdf (Accessed 13 March 2024)
[3] Scholz, A.E., Michelmann, J., and Hornung, M. (2023) Fuel Cell Hybrid-
Electric Aircraft: Design, Operational, and Environmental Impact. Journal of 
Aircraft 60(3), pp.606-622

Project Aims:
This project will explore innovative thermal management solutions for aircraft 
fuel-cell systems with a focus on miniaturization and weight reduction. 

It is expected that the project will involve:
-	Multiphase (and potentially multiscale) fluid modelling using 
Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD).  
-	Development/use of tools to model the integration thermal management 
systems within the aircraft conceptual design stages.  

•	Candidates should hold a first or second-class Honours degree in 
Aerospace, Mechanical, Electrical Engineering, or other relevant disciplines. 
•	Candidates should be passionate about making contributions to 
sustainable aviation challenges. 
•	A strong background in fluid simulation, thermal management and/or 
aerospace design are desirable but not essential.

How to apply:
Interested candidates are invited to submit their CV, academic transcripts, and 
a brief statement detailing their research interests and how their knowledge 
applies to the proposed topic. Please send your application to, referring to the project title. Shortlisted 
candidates will be contacted for interviews.

Application Deadline: 22/07/2024

This studentship is open to UK citizens and EU applicants with pre-settled or 
settled status.  
International candidates are welcome to apply, however only the home student’s 
tuition fees are covered. Additional funding may be made available for excellent 
international applicants. 

Contact Information:
Please mention the CFD Jobs Database, record #19178 when responding to this ad.
NameStephanie Docherty
Email ApplicationYes
Record Data:
Last Modified12:43:29, Friday, May 17, 2024

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