Access to AVL simulation software proves invaluable tool in student research project

By Aleksandar Ribnishki, AAPS CDT student

With the start of the new academic year last month, I have joined the AAPS CDT programme as part of Cohort 3.

After finishing my undergraduate degree at the University of Bath, I chose the AAPS CDT for my doctorate as the programme integrates a one-year MRes with a three to four-year PhD and welcomes students from all backgrounds. In this way, key skills for the successful completion of the PhD stage are developed during the first year through various individual and group activities, as part of which students get the invaluable experience of working in a transdisciplinary environment. Furthermore, the close collaboration between the University of Bath and leading companies in the automotive industry provides the students with the opportunity to conduct cutting edge research during their PhD.

I graduated with a First-class honours degree in MEng Mechanical with Automotive Engineering this July and I was honoured to also receive the 2021 Dean’s Prize (top graduating student in Automotive Engineering). I believe that the successful completion of my final year project titled ‘Analytical and Numerical Modelling of the Surface-to-Volume Ratio of a Two-Stage Wankel Engine’ contributed towards earning the award. As the name of the project suggests, its main aim was to investigate the dependency of the surface-to-volume ratio of a two-stage peripherally-ported Wankel engine with relation to its geometric variables. To achieve this, I started from first principles and created an analytical model of a single-stage Wankel engine. To ensure its accuracy, I developed an identical numerical model in AVL BOOST, which corroborated its findings. I used AVL BOOST for this stage of the project as it is currently the only commercially available simulation software with a dedicated Wankel engine environment. Following this, I extended the analytical model to a two-stage Wankel engine, the findings of which were compared against a numerical model developed in the reciprocating piston engine environment in GT-POWER. The project outcomes identified geometric considerations for two-stage Wankel engines that could lead to significant thermal efficiency improvements.

UST exploded view. Picture credit: Advanced Innovative Engineering (AIE)

Building on my final year project, during my time with the AAPS CDT I would like to focus my efforts on researching the combustion process within hydrogen-fuelled internal combustion engines for range extender applications in passenger vehicles. I chose this area of research because hydrogen-fuelled range extenders will both decarbonise the automotive fleet, which is crucial for reaching net zero emissions by 2050, as well as ease the range anxiety experienced by owners of current generation battery electric vehicles.

Aleksandar Ribnishki, AAPS CDT student