CSIR bags R1.5m Airbus contract

By Leon Engelbrecht, ITWeb senior writer
Johannesburg, 19 Feb 2008

Aircraft company Airbus has awarded the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) a R1.5 million contract to conduct research into computational fluid dynamics.

The one-year agreement will encompass researching and defining numerical modelling technologies and mathematical software that could lead to breakthroughs in the design of efficient next-generation jetliners, says CSIR principal researcher in computational aerodynamics Dr Arnaud Malan.

Malan says much of the work will be done using the Centre for High Performance Computing - a Department of Science and Technology initiative managed by the CSIR's Meraka Institute, in cooperation with the University of Cape Town.

He adds that the project forms part of Airbus's Research & Technology (R&T) partnership with SA, announced in 2006.

Airbus senior VP for research and technology Axel Krein says the CSIR is now a member of Airbus's global R&T network.

"This... contract demonstrates Airbus's recognition of the CSIR and SA's significant capabilities in hi-tech engineering science and technology," says Krein. "It clearly illustrates our strategy of harnessing a global knowledge base in technology, which is the only answer to manage air transport growth, while reducing the impact on the environment," he adds.

"Computational mechanics is an extremely exciting field where the sky is no longer the limit, but the next frontier," says Malan. "The CSIR believes it has a valuable contribution to make in furthering understanding and developing solutions in this science. It is the first time that Airbus will be making use of the skills of CSIR researchers, and we are excited and confident that it will be a mutually beneficial research partnership.

"This is a rapidly growing engineering field and is highly competitive. In a nutshell, our research in this area of computational mechanics will help to enable the design of an aircraft in cyber space," Malan adds.

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