Climate change concerns require aircraft engines' nitrous oxide (NOx) emissions to be minimised. Reducing NOx production in new-generation aircraft engines is achieved by burning at lower temperatures. These low-emission flames, however, flap very unsteadily in a chaotic fashion. This is further worsened by acoustic echoes inside the engine and can develop into destructive oscillations that can shake it apart. Whereas traditional methods break down under chaotic oscillations, I have developed a novel method in my PhD to suppress these oscillations via a multi-disciplinary approach, combining chaos theory and optimisation, opening up new avenues for cleaner, quieter and safer aircraft engines.
Find out about the winners awarded in previous years: