College of Engineering 2020 New Faculty Research Seminar Series

Rory Roberts, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Mechanical Engineering

Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020 | 4:30 – 5:30 p.m.

 Abstract: System integration and design is traditionally a steady-state driven process during the conceptual design phase. Steady-state conceptual design optimization provides single point realization although sometimes off-design points are considered for compliance of operation within the design constraints. As this approach provides a method for designing a system under steady-state operating points, it does not provide insight in how the system will transition from one operating point to another, completely ignoring the time dependent path. As complex highly integrated systems emerge, the need for understanding path dependent transient behavior becomes increasingly important during the conceptual design phase. The synergetic integration required for increased performance provides very little margin for uncertainty in the design. In complex systems, such as next generation aircraft, this uncertainty leads to over designed subsystems hindering the overall performance of the aircraft. To reduce the uncertainty in the design, the transient behavior is needed during the conceptual design phase of the design process to ensure the desired operation and behavior of the system is achieved. Transient analysis during the conceptual design phase requires development and inclusion of controls, which are specific to a particular system both in architecture and component sizing.  Hence, a control system must be included for every system concept and redesigned for every design iteration during the design optimization process. Control systems can be subjective and mislead the design process by hindering the system’s performance if not developed correctly. Therefore, during the conceptual design process the control system must be automatically developed or eliminated as part of the process.  The requirement of optimizing the system and the controls simultaneously calls for an overhaul in the design process for complex systems as we know it today. An innovative design process for rapid development and analysis of transient systems is needed.  A methodology of performing transient design optimization of a system is in development with the objective of defining a new design approach for a complex integrated system including conceptual, preliminary and detailed design with a control system. The methodology will co-design the system and control system during the process for desired performance and behavior. The proposed design process will introduce the ability to automate phases of the process which currently do not exist or are highly labor intensive, while also providing the opportunity to train advanced control systems with optimal time dependent data through machine learning.

Dr. Roberts general research areas

  • Air Breathing Propulsion
  • Aircraft Thermal Management
  • Power Systems for Aerospace and Spaced-based Systems
  • Fuel Cells
  • Electric Propulsion
  • Hypersonic Power and Thermal Management
  • Dynamic Modeling of Multidisciplinary Systems
  • Design and Optimization of Dynamic Systems and Control 

Return to Engineering News