Romax Technology Ltd, ANSYS and the University of Nottingham are working on a project part funded through the UK Aerospace R&T Programme, to optimise the design and simulation process for aerospace transmissions.

The project – named HEATSSIM (Holistic Engineering Approach to Thermal and Structural Simulation) is a 2 ½ year, £1.0m project that looks at augmenting Romax’ mechanical understanding of transmissions with the thermal/fluid capabilities of ANSYS, a global leader in generalist simulation software and the specialist application knowledge provided by the University of Nottingham. The project application was supported by major aerospace manufacturers who followed the project progress and outcome.

Transmissions are an essential sub-system in any aerospace application. The transmission system is central to the design and operation of any helicopter, either for commercial or military use, and the next generation of ultra-high bypass gas turbines for aircrafts have a transmission at the core. In engineering design, progress requires pushing the boundary of performance, yet this cannot be achieved within sensible time of cost limits through making and breaking prototypes. Simulation is the key.

There is a lot going on in a transmission which needs to be simulated – they deform under load, make noise, they heat up, oil gets thrown around by meshing gears; too much oil and the transmission is inefficient, too little and it overheats. The gears cannot fail, and safety standards scrupulous in the aerospace industry.

The project was not just to include all the important physical behaviours, but to link them together, providing an efficient and productive process that guides the engineer to an optimised design.

Romax Chief Technical Officer, Barry James, “This is an exciting addition to our technology portfolio and we see excellent prospects for the future. Romax has been first to market on other technologies such as simulation of gearbox noise and this has brought in steadily rising revenue for many years. We expect this technology to have similar success and longevity.

By looking at the key physical behaviours of the transmission through simulation, we could address issues such as deflection of the transmission under load, heat generation and dissipation, noise and vibration and response to shock loads, whereby we can then generate an overall picture of what’s going on. Using this information, we can analyse and make big steps forward in understanding how many of these behaviours interact, causing or influencing another to make significant improvements in terms of optimising the efficiency of the transmission.”

Engineering has been asked to tackle enormous environmental challenges. This project sits squarely at the centre of tackling these challenges, in aerospace and other industries, today and far into the future.

For more information please visit the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) website to read the full case study.











Simulation of an Aerospace Transmission involves many different physical phenomena

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