X-Plorer 1 EC delivered to the University of Sheffield, marking the start of an ambitious collaboration!
Last week, we had the pleasure of visiting the University of Sheffield to deliver the second ever jet engine model designed and manufactured by us, the X-Plorer 1 EC. The end of the intensive 9-month redesigning, prototyping, assembling and testing period, marks the official start of our collaboration with the Control, Monitoring & Systems Engineering University Technology Centre (UTC) within the University of Sheffield.
Established in 1993, the UTC is leading research in systems and control for Rolls-Royce, supporting operations in design, development, manufacture and service provisions for integrated power systems that are used in the air, on land and at sea. The collaboration aligns perfectly with our long-term goals and objectives which, on one hand, involve continuing and growing the educational impact of our programmes for more students and through more channels (including curriculum integration) and on the other hand facilitating higher level research in areas where our engines are more attractive to use due to the lower cost and simpler operation. JetX president, Chris Triantafyllou, added:
The X-Plorer 1 showed how useful it can be as an educational tool, besides being an original project that we started from scratch. Even though we were always willing to demonstrate how it can be used as an experimental platform in aerospace research, the right opportunities hadn't come up. Our collaboration with ACSE enables us to take this step in a control and systems engineering context, whilst enabling the team in Sheffield to demonstrate or test their work and devices in a whole new setting.
About the EC
Even though the X-Plorer 1 EC shares a lot of common features with its predecessor, it is far from identical! Although implementing all the improvements planned for the X-Plorer 2 would be desirable, this is currently still in the early design process and it would delay the start of our work with Sheffield by over a year. Our solution was to use the same core as the XP1 as the starting point and complete a number of crucial upgrades and design changes based on our experience from developing the X-Plorer 1.
The full list of improvements can be found on the dedicated programme page which will be published in the next couple of weeks, but to list a few, the EC features:
3D printing of the EC started on the 10th of April and was completed 164 days later, transforming a total of 670 parts from CAD to reality for main components, development parts and spares. This added 2588 3D printing hours on our printers, on top of the 2942 hours spent on the development of the X-Plorer 1! July 2018 was our busiest month which saw 130 parts produced.
Testing & Upcoming Work
During our visit to the Kroto Research Institute, we also had the chance to run both engines, setting two small performance records! The major objective of the change in the relative number of stators in the turbine was to improve the LP performance, which showed to be lacking compared to HP in the 2017 tests. At 200 LPM, the EC spun at 197 RPM, nearly 1.8 times faster that the X-Plorer 1.
Just before our departure, we also ran the X-Plorer 1 up to the limits of the provided air supply, with the HP shaft reaching speeds of up to 1657 RPM; over 200 RPM higher than before.
Back in Glasgow, we are currently getting ready to brief the team, including the new recruits, and resume work for the X-Plorer 2 and Kronos. We already have a couple of specific areas to focus our attention on, which include tasks of relevance to the EC.
In Sheffield, the team will spend the next couple of weeks familiarising themselves with the engine before conducting the first set of tests on fault diagnostics around the fan! In the meantime, MSc students within ACSE can now express their interest to get involved with the EC or submit their testing ideas at the dedicated application page here. We have a lot of exciting work ahead for all teams and we are looking forward to strengthening our ties with the University of Sheffield through a strategic expansion of our working areas to include aerospace research in the future.
Applications are now open for our main intake for 2018-2019 with vacancies in 6 teams! Following a challenging year for JetX, we have returned with a very positive outlook that will keep projects running in two UK cities for the first time!
This is the first ever time that our team has been restructured and you will find detailed information about the new teams and their objectives in the relevant application pages. We felt this was necessary to serve our evolving portfolio of projects, whilst improving the student experience. This also means that teams will not be split by programme and will focus on specific skills that students have or would like to focus on.
Students from Strathclyde University are also invited to apply, as we are committed to recruiting more talented students from Glasgow and this will be followed by the opportunity for MSc students to get involved with the X-Plorer 1 EC in Sheffield! Please note Strathclyde students can apply online, whereas students from Sheffield will receive further information from within the ACSE department and cannot apply online at this stage.
This will be a very competitive year and we would encourage everyone who is considering getting involved to apply as soon as possible for a chance for an early interview. Good luck!
Heading for an electric future? Electronics team tops peer assessment during final presentations for 2017/2018!
Kronos Power Transmission team leader Murray Mackenzie, presented the latest updates from his team.
Our third and final full team meeting for this academic year took place on Monday, amid anticipation to view the latest updated on the work across all teams! The meeting held at Hilton Glasgow Grosvenor was, in fact, the longest we have ever had, stretching over 6 hours (but we did have a lunch break)!
Highlights from the X-Plorer 2 team include major progress on one of the high priority items on our agenda- the finite element modelling of 3D printed parts. The Power Transmission team has been working on recreating the geometry of an actual 3D printed part from the tool paths with the ultimate goal being to calibrate a model using ANSYS so that the significant anisotropy is taken into account. One of the two members leading the FEA research, Paul Strang, said:
I think that our work on gcode-based FEA modelling is one of the most exciting areas to be working on. We have made good progress this semester and I am glad to have had the chance to get involved. Of course, we haven't reached our goal yet and will hope that we'll have a breakthrough in the next few months, as our modelling in ANSYS gets more elaborate and some testing is completed.
Exhaust also presented a newer, more elaborate design for the thrust reversers that will be introduced to the X-Plorer 2, with some additional work required to address scaling issues. Progress from Kronos has been impressive, with the programme running ahead of schedule despite the initially challenging theoretical design stage. The exhaust team stood out, showing major progress on the nozzle and afterburner design and managed to run initial CFD simulations in the limited amount of time for computational simulations this semester. Exhaust team leader, Cami Leslie said:
Having worked on both the X-Plorer 1 and 2, Kronos is the programme was most excited to hear about and despite the heavy workload associated with starting the design from scratch, we were incredibly motivated to deliver some of the most challenging and impressive components. I am very proud of the work we presented today and we are looking forward to seeing it to completion next year!
Kronos Compressor team member Cosimo Nastasia, gave a thorough presentation on the team's theoretical model.
Electronics presented what is expended to be the most major improvement for the entire EMS, both for hardware and software. The team's careful planning and appreciation for the way the systems will integrate with the upcoming engines, enabled the rest of the team to appreciate the work which most others don't usually have to get involved with. The team is expected to deliver the new system by July, when it will be used for an X-Plorer 1 variant.
One of the most engaging features of our final presentations is the ability for members to vote for other teams' presentations in real time and assess them in three areas: presentation skills, technical content and overall progress. This year, this was enabled using MeetingPulse! Through their kind sponsorship, we ran live polling easier than ever before and gathered all data to present at the end of the meeting. 88% of attendees said that the use of MeetingPulse made the meeting and presentations more engaging and 7 out 10 stated that it made the process more competitive!
Overall Top 5
This meeting has been sponsored by
Last week, we had the opportunity to go on a two-day trip to Lossiemouth and present our work to two very different audiences; the Rolls-Royce team at RAF Lossiemouth and pupils at Hythehill Primary school!
On Monday, we had the pleasure of introducing the X-Plorer 1 and our current projects at the team of the Rolls-Royce Service Delivery Centre within RAF Lossiemouth. The unit responsible for the first line of maintenance for the Typhoon engines, the EJ200, welcomed us and following a presentation on our work, showed us around the facility, giving us the opportunity to inspect an engine up close and find out more about some of the operational and maintenance aspects of the EJ200. We thoroughly enjoyed our visit to the facility and we are looking forward to returning and running the X-Plorer 1 next time!
Paul Gardner (Rolls-Royce RAF Propulsion Centre) with JetX vice-president, Ross Williams.
On Tuesday, we had a great time at Hythehill Primary School where we gave a talk to 4 student groups, in order to introduce students to the various engineering careers, how to get into them and what subjects are most useful. We want to not only share our experience, given that some of us didn't leave school too long ago, address some misconceptions around the engineering profession, as well as inspire the newer generation!
Each talk was followed by a 20-minute activity during which the students were asked to form teams and tackle an engineering challenge. Making use of only 3D printed connectors and paper straws the groups had to build the tallest structure that can support a mass of up to 500g. Given finite resources, a limited amount of time and the ability to "buy" additional materials for a point loss, all groups were creative with many achieving the goal of this challenge! We were impressed by many of the structures and found it to be a very suspenseful activity when it came to applying the weight.
It was great fun interacting with the students and we hope that they learned something knew, if they are not considering becoming an engineer already! If you are a teacher and would be interested to have us during a STEM event for your school, we would be delighted to hear from you; you can get in touch using the contact form or by simply emailing us at any time.
This visit was proudly sponsored by the
JetX members from 10 teams and 2 programmes came together last week to assess progress during the first semester, individual performance and each team's plans and strategies for the current semester.
The meeting, which was held at Hilton Glasgow Grosvenor, took place at the end of the most exhaustive review process so far. Feedback was collected from all levels within the organisation, from the junior team members to the board members and each team and team leader was assessed for the team function, performance, skills & personal experience. The 39-page internal report gives a good idea to all teams about any particular areas where the might have missed the target and how they compare against all other teams. Chris said:
The review not only gives us an opportunity to evaluate all teams, given that the number has doubled in the last year, but also enables us to provide useful feedback or information at a time when the teams can learn from it and use it constructively for the current semester.
Overall, we have been very satisfied with the progress so far and the performance of most teams. Feedback also shows that our implementation of Freedcamp earlier this year has improved cross-team communication, which has been problematic in the past. Most X-Plorer 2 teams are almost ready to deliver key performance and assembly improvements to the engine programme, whilst Kronos has made a steady start in laying the design foundations. Electronics has already delivered some interim solutions to problems of the EMS and is working towards the new system. Congratulations to the X-Plorer 2 Turbine team and Hannah Garcia Doherty for being the top scorers in the team performance and team leadership categories respectively for this semester!
The full team will come together again in March for a more in-depth technical review. We would also like to thank the staff at Hilton Glasgow Grosvenor for their help and hospitality!
In the meantime, a small number of vacancies has become available for both programmes and our applications are now open! Applications at this time of the year are reviewed on a rolling basis and may close as soon as vacancies are filled. You can find out more by visiting this page.
October was an extremely busy month for all of us in JetX both internally and in terms of public engagements! In the first half of the month we finalised the new teams and the specifications for the new engines, X-Plorer 2 & Kronos.
On the 19th we had our first full team meeting for the year, which saw a full house of the largest and most diverse team to date! All members were briefed on our targets for the year, the working procedures and introduced to our new project management platform, Freedcamp.
On the 21st we took the X-Plorer 1 to the School of Engineering at the University of Glasgow for the Open Day where we had the chance to talk to many enthusiastic students and parents. We were glad to receive a lot of positive feedback which motivates us to keep inspiring the younger generation to pursue a career in STEM and engineering in particular.
On the 24th JetX was also represented at the Creative Lab opening at the School of Engineering showing an overview of the project from early design to testing. We are glad to see more spaces which enable collaboration between students being introduced and hope this is also the start of increased support for student activities.
On the 25th we were kindly invited by the Glasgow University Engineering Society (GUES) to their annual Dinner with Industry which took place at the Hilton Glasgow Grosvenor. We thoroughly enjoyed our evening and had the chance to talk to more engineering students and representatives from companies about the X-Plorer 1 and our plans for the future.
Dinner with Industry 2017 (Left to right): Brogan Gauld, Cami Leslie, Chris Triantafyllou, Mohamed Hatab & Calum Gernon
Finally, on the 27th our president along with heads of other clubs and societies from the University of Glasgow and other Scottish universities attended the IMechE's Scottish Region Annual Dinner. Chris had the opportunity to talk to representatives of other universities and get an insight of the support and resources they have access to, as well as talk to some of our partners in industry and academia from the greater Glasgow region.
We are glad to have proudly represented all our X-Plorer 1 sponsors in all these events and hope to continue our cooperation with all of them and even more in the future! So far we are pleased to see all 10 teams to have made a good start in breaking down and analysing their tasks and challenges. The theoretical design stage has now began for both programmes and the electronics team is working on replacing some parts that will improve the performance and reliability of the EMS on the X-Plorer 1 during its final testing.
Our largest recruitment drive to date is now complete! JetX saw a whooping 175% increase in the total number of applications compared to the same time last year.
The significant increase in vacancies due to the introduction of a second programme, Kronos, as well of a small number of non-technical roles to assist with sponsorship and event planning tasks led to an increased acceptance rate of 56%. Commenting on the increased demand JetX president, Chris Triantafyllou said:
"We were expecting a steady increase in applications as we have seen in previous years, but we were very pleased to see so many applicants from all years of study expressing interest in our projects. Intensifying efforts to bring major improvements to the X-Plorer 2 and the introduction of a second programme, Kronos, show our commitment to providing a unique learning experience to more engineering students than ever before."
As part of our recruitment process we also spent nearly 20 hours interviewing 51 applicants. For a second year in a row, Schedulista has been the platform of choice for organising all appointments, which ensured this was a streamlined process, making it as simple as possible for us and all applicants!
In terms of top level management, Andrew Paul has been appointed Programme Director for the X-Plorer 2 and Hamzah Mushtaq has been promoted to Programme Director for Kronos. Among the 43 new recruits, 6 are students in their first year and 3 are post-graduate students with the rest coming from all years of study in-between and from 11 degree programmes making this the most diverse team to date. Commenting on the recruitment process Hamzah noted:
"I'm very impressed with the overall calibre of individuals we have working on Kronos and this takes us a step closer to accomplishing something truly special. Kronos will be the only project of its kind anywhere in the world, and these people get to be an integral part of it. I feel honoured to be leading the project and I am looking forward to working with people from all engineering backgrounds in order to deliver such a complex system."
All candidates have now been contacted and we have a busy schedule in terms of meetings coming up. The joint team leaders-programme coordinators briefing will take place next week and the first full team meeting with take place on the 19th of October. We are looking forward to a very exciting year ahead and working with so many bright young engineers and our industrial partners!
Trouble-free scheduling by
Our first ever presence in a trade fair has been a great success, as dozens of people from industry, academia and the public visited us to find out more about our work and projects!
Over three days, we displayed the first 3D-printed jet engine model to feature an integrated monitoring system at the 22nd TCT Show held at the NEC in Birmingham. The expo saw a wide range of manufacturers and suppliers come together, exhibiting new technologies, impressive 3D-prints and unveiling new potentials for cooperations.
We were delighted by the interest from the public, academics from UK universities and professionals from the additive manufacture, materials, aerospace, electronics and engineering services industries. We are looking forward to turning these contacts into partnerships in the future that will help us further advance our engine development programmes and promote our work.
Finally we would like to thank Arnold, Edgar and Dolf from Formfutura for hosting us and for giving us this fantastic opportunity to exhibit our work! It was great fun to spend three extremely busy days with the team and we hope to be back for TCT 2018!
JetX will be attending the 22nd TCT Show hosted at the NEC in Birmingham from the 26th to the 28th of September!
TCT Show is one of the world’s leading events focused on 3D manufacturing technologies and in it continues to deliver business-critical insights on 3D printing, additive manufacturing, CAD/CAE, metrology and inspection. By bringing together dozens of inspirational speakers, an expansive show floor with over 250 exhibitors, ground-breaking product launches, specialist technology tracks, a dedicated start-up zone and many more interactive show floor attractions, TCT Show continues to set the agenda for the industry.
This year we are kindly hosted by our sponsor, Formfutura. The Netherlands-based high quality filament manufacturer has been supporting our projects for almost two years and as a matter of fact, the X-Plorer 1 has been 3D-printed exclusively using Formfutura EasyFil (TM) filaments.
The X-Plorer 1 will be on-display for the duration of the show before making the journey back to Glasgow for further testing. Come down to stand E70 to check the engine, talk to team members for more information on our future plans and even get your own 3D-printed JetX keyring (while stocks last)! The show is free to attend and you can sign up by following the link below.
See you there!
Our applications are now open for more vacancies than ever before! For the first time, applicants can not only choose to apply to a specific team, but also to a specific program.
Our recruitment this year coincides with the announcement of a second, brand-new engine program that will run in parallel with the X-Plorer 2. Named Kronos, the project will focus on the development of a low bypass military jet engine that will aim to balance cruise and combat performance!
This is not just an exciting development for our portfolio but also shows our commitment to the student population. Demand to get involved in JetX has always been high and this both allows us to recruit more of the best young engineers, as well as expand our focus as far as jet engine design is concerned.
Also for the first time, we have a number of non-technical roles available related to sponsorship, outreach, marketing, events and students of any background are eligible to apply! To find out more information about all roles and options related to applications, please follow the link below. Applications will remain open until Sunday, September 24th, end of day!
Jet-x.org is the latest website to be featured by EEWeb as the 'Engineering Site of the Day'!
EEWeb is one the largest electrical engineering communities for hardware engineers across the globe. AspenCore manages the website along with EETimes, Embedded.com, EDN.com and other tools related to hardware including PCBs. AspenCore operates as a subsidiary of Fortune 500 and global electronic products and services provider, Arrow Electronics. JetX president, Chris Triantafyllou said:
"Electronics are a very special part of our project. We paired a functional 3D-printed model with a complete and seamlessly integrated electronics system, adding tremendous potential to what we could achieve in terms of data acquisition. Even in a simulated testing environment, this means we are able to quantify design and performance improvements through actual testing. We are very glad to be featured on EEWeb's website which shows that work we do has attracted the attention of the aerospace, 3D-printing and, now, electronics industries.
You can read more on EEWeb's website or by clicking on the EEWeb logo below!
We are delighted to announce that our first project, the X-Plorer 1, has been honoured in the global design competition, Project of the Year 2017, organised by Dassault Systèmes!
The competition which ran from April through June received 214 entries across a wide range of areas including aerospace, automotive, product design, biomedical and materials engineering from all over the world. Dassault Systèmes is the French multinational software company behind major engineering tools such as Solidworks, CATIA and SIMULIA. The X-Plorer 1 has been designed entirely using Solidworks, which has also allowed us to perform initial simulations to examine structural integrity and performance. Dassault Systèmes was ranked second in the Corporate Knights Top 100 Most Sustainable Corporations in the World in 2016 and was the highest ranked technology company on the list.
Each of the three brands' prizes were awarded by a jury consisting of two professionals for each respective software which judged the entries "on the basis of several criteria including innovation, originality, technicality, optimal use of the Solidworks solution, work carried out and any other similar criteria." The X-Plorer 1 was one of two UK entries that won an award, along with Gaetano Arena from the University of Bristol for his work on morphing structures for flow regulation, modelled using SIMULIA.
Apart from winning the Solidworks jury prize, the X-Plorer 1 also came 9th in the public vote and we would like to thank each and every person that voted for us and picked our project among the hundreds submitted! Both awards, along with the news that the XP1 has also been shortlisted for the upcoming 3D Hubs Student Grant final are incredible rewards in recognition of the hard work and dedication that the team has shown in the last two and a half years! We want to take this forward and not only engage more students next year, but also keep on encouraging younger people to become the pioneers of tomorrow!
The X-Plorer 1 has successfully completed the first phase of testing which included a series of static runs! This was the first time the engine was actuated by air alone with the structural integrity of the 3D-printed assembly also put to the test. The on-board electronics were also tested for performance in the range exhibited by the XP1.
Reaching this milestone means that we not only have a working model to the capacity that we expected but also that it has cleared checks for wind tunnel testing which will be scheduled for autumn 2017. JetX president Chris Triantafyllou said:
Today marks a major milestone for this project which has been in the making for the past two and a half years! We have now acquired data or identified areas to be improved that would not otherwise be possible before or without testing. The fact that the engine remains in full working condition means that we plan to perform wind tunnel testing as well as operate it for longer and at higher speeds.
We would also like to thank our trusted partner Cole-Parmer for their continuing support and extremely fast response for the evolving needs for instrumentation during testing! As the development of the X-Plorer 2 will be at full speed during the upcoming academic year, we would also like to thank each and every partner of ours during the design and manufacture of the X-Plorer 1! Check them out here.
The X-Plorer 1 has been entered in the contest organised by leading engineering design software company Dassault Systèmes. The annual contest calls for designs from individuals or student teams and our project is a great example of creativity and ingenuity in an engineering context. The XP1 is competing in the Solidworks category, the software used exclusively to design the engine, as well as in the general category from public vote.
Show us your support by voting for the X-Plorer 1 by clicking on the appropriate link below! Voting requires a Facebook account, but only takes a minute.
Last week, the team met with engineering executives at Rolls-Royce to present progress of the X-Plorer 1 project and discuss key matters that will broaden our cooperation on a technical basis. Rolls-Royce joined JetX as a key sponsor and we are delighted to be working with one of the greatest jet engine manufacturers with influence on the aerospace sector worldwide.
JetX plans to join the RR efforts, particularly of the Inchinnan team to promote STEM subjects and encourage young people to pursue engineering by presenting the wide range of interesting areas and projects. Furthermore, Rolls-Royce has kindly offered to assist us on a knowledge and technical basis where possible to help us further raise the level and quality of future projects. In a statement to the University of Glasgow's media team, Garry Train, the Rolls-Royce Manufacturing Executive for Compressors, said:
February and March were incredibly busy months that saw the final parts being 3D-printed, including a number of revisions. Some late issues with on-board electronics have been fully resolved, whilst the software that supplements the EMS and allows us to monitor engine performance in real time, wirelessly was also finalised. The electronics and pneumatics are now being fitted while 88 threaded inserts are heat-pressed in nacelle parts to allow for practical assembly and disassembly.
The production is expected to come to an official end next week with pre-testing scheduled for late May.
You can also read the story by the University of Glasgow's Media team here!
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