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This project is made up of two interlinked work packages. In the first work package, with The Shuttleworth Collection, one of the world’s largest collections of early 20th Century aircraft, the project will consider how the innovative features which enabled these pioneering aircraft to fly may be applied to 21st Century aircraft. Particular emphasis will be placed on mass and materials of construction, specific power and specific energy, as well as the carbon cost associated with manufacture and maintenance. Using computational fluid dynamics and multiphysics simulations, three-dimensional digital models will be developed, enabling the lessons learned from the aerodynamic performance of these vintage aircraft to be applied to modern electric aircraft designs. In a second work package the project will also develop a practical and theoretical understanding of how fabric-covered wooden frames age under different environmental conditions. Light and humidity are of particular importance, as are the conditions to which airworthy heritage aircraft are exposed during airshows. These natural materials tend to become brittle and less elastic as they age, and candidate conservation techniques can be tested and analysed using accelerated ageing protocols. There will be the opportunities to access data at the Shuttleworth Collection.

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