Modelling and Simulation

Simulating Spacecraft Journeys

solar system

There is currently a renewed focus on travel in space, evidenced by very recent Mars landings, and flights to the space station. This project will use the UE4 engine to simulate the flight of a spacecraft in a restricted part of the Solar System, e.g., Earth-Mars or Earth-Moon. It will extend a previous Computing Project where the Solar System was simulated without a spacecraft.

The project could take many forms; you could simulate launch from the Earth into orbit around the Moon or Mars, or you could focus on the descent and landing phase of a vehicle. This could be done using an autonomous controller, though you may like to give it a more game feel with a human in the driving seat. The maths behind the model is known as the "restricted three-body" problem.

Primary data will be the trajectories of the spacecraft motion, and the planets positions. This could be validated against real-world NASA data.


Vibration Energy Harvesting (VEH)


Moving towards a carbon-neutral energy balance we are looking for alternative ways to harvest energy. Vibration Energy Harvesting (VEH) is an emerging area of research where periodic motion is converted into electrical power. Think about where vibration energy is wasted: One example is shock absorbers on car suspension, where motion is converted into heat. Why not re-design the shock absorbers to produce electricity? Think about a train; when it travels over a section of track, the track bends down for a while. Why not convert this bending into electricity? Or put a device into your shoe so when you stomp around, each stomp generates electrical power.

There are two main forms of VEH, magnetic and piezo-electric. This project will explore one or both of these technologies. You will conduct a simulation, and if you want, attempt the construction of a physical device. Primary data will be collected from the simulation or device measuring the amount of electrical power generated for various amounts of vibration


Wind Farm Simulation

Wind Turbine

In this project you will code a simulation of a wind turbine which adapts to the current wind speed in order to achieve optimal performance. This is achieved by varying the generator load on the turbine, and adjusting the pitch of the blades for higher speeds. You will model the CART-3 research turbine from the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory, details and tons of data are available for this turbine. You will verify your model against published research.

Primary data will be collected from the simulation which will be compared with published data. The second phase of the project will look at investigating the layout of wind farms. Here you will change the spacing of the turbines and their geometrical layout, and measure the farm efficiency as these are varied.


Cloud Simulator

Design, Build, Test a Cloud Simulator.

Description: This is a design-build-test project to produce a piece of software using a language of your choice that simulates the visual appearance of clouds in real-time.

Key challenges: study and understand state-of-the-art techniques for simulating the appearance of clouds in real-time, then implement one of them and test that it works (the test needs to verify that the code works and that the intended model used is actually implemented).  This would be a challenging project.

Although the artefact (ie your software prototype) will be a key deliverable, we will also need to see:

  • a requirements specification and plan, developed through background research/study and discussions with your supervisor
  • a detailed and reasoned software design, showing how the model is interpreted into code
  • a development plan/log based on the above design (it is normal practice for a design to evolve throughout the development process, especially if using an agile approach)
  • a test strategy and log, showing the planned approach to verification and the results of your tests.