Development of a computational fluid dynamics methodology for the management of oil tanks and the separation of air and oil in an aero-engine - QC-193

Preferred Disciplines: Mechanical, Aerospace, Chemical, Nuclear, Physics Engineer (Masters, PhD or Post-Doc) 
Project length: 12-18 months (3 units)
Approx. start date: As soon as possible by September 2019
Location: Longueuil, QC (South Shore of Montreal)
No. of Positions: 2
Preferences: Universities close to Montreal, but open to other universities depending on level of proven expertise
Company: Anonymous

About Company:

The partner is a global aerospace leader, shaping the future of business, helicopter and regional aviation with next generation engines. The company also offers advanced engines for industrial applications.

The company is one of the top R&D investor in Canada, investing $500 million per year to develop the next generation of engines. Current R&D projects centre on key technologies to ensure our engines meet or surpass stringent environmental standards for air emissions and noise and offer improved fuel efficiency.

Summary of Project:

Oil is used in aircraft engine applications to lubricate and carry the associated parasitic heat generated away from the moving components. Inefficient lubrication can cause an increase of heat transferred to the metal components by friction while too much oil can cause an increase of heat generation by churning. The churning of oil leads to the entrainment of air. Oil temperature rise leads to generation of foam. Air and oil must be separated so air can be evacuated in the atmosphere and oil pumped back into the oil system.

The project consists of developing a CFD methodology to simulate and model the separation of air and oil. The methodology will then be used by CFD experts in collaboration with the students to analyze the impact of different components and designs of active separating systems and oil tanks. The work will involve development, verification and validation of CFD code. The student’s ideas will be tested on the company’s supercomputer and possibly validated with in-house laboratory tests.

The simulation of air / oil mixtures in the context of industrial applications expanded significantly over the last few years. It is only recently that flow simulating software succeeded at reconstructing multiphase flow interface and that engineers have had access to the computing power to solve multiphase flow for industrial applications. This is why, this project has not only a research application but also a production application.

Research Objectives/Sub-Objectives:

A methodology in the form of a report that will describe all the steps to perform a 3D simulation of air / oil flows for air/oil separation. This methodology will describe all the steps needed to perform the analysis, along with the parameters that must be set in the different software used to obtain the anticipated results. The deliverables will also include a complete set of the sanitized simulation files created through this project.


    Two students will work in parallel. The students will be responsible for developing a 3D simulation methodology as per the following steps:

    • Obtain Geometry in CAD format
    • Simplify virtual assembly using CAD based on assumptions
    • Propose a meshing approach using available software
    • Select/Develop Two-Phase flow modeling based on assumptions and review of literature
    • Analyze results and suggest approach for validation of results
    • Develop and publish methodology used for the above activities for the company
    • Explore the design space with current methodology

    The students will be responsible for setting his / her milestones at the beginning of the project.

    The students will use existing commercial software tools. The students may develop some software code in the form of user-defined functions for CFX or Fluent. This should be minimized and only done when there is no other approach possible to meet a requirement. Work will involve interactions with stakeholders and third parties. Communication skills are vital to this project.

    Expertise and Skills Needed:

    Required :

    • Highly motivated student with interests for applied research
    • Ability to communicate very technical concepts to non-technical audience
    • Quick thinker and highly creative
    • Deep knowledge of Fluid Mechanics
    • Experience with CAD software
    • Comfortable with Catia v5
    • Knowledge of Volume Finite CFD
    • Matlab level programming

    Desirable :

    • Experience/knowledge of Ansys  CFD software
    • Knowledge of two-phase flow fluid regimes
    • Knowledge of turbomachinery
    • Knowledge of numerical methods and software verification / validation methods

    For more info or to apply to this applied research position, please

    1. Check your eligibility and find more information about open projects.
    2. Interested students need to get the approval from their supervisor and send their CV along with a link to their supervisor’s university webpage by applying through the webform or directly to Wissem Maazoun