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Indian team in running to develop 'silent' aircraft

By Aditi Khanna
May 29, 2013 16:57 IST
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AircraftA team of three aerospace-engineering students from India has been selected as one the finalists in a contest organised by Airbus to find a future aircraft with near-zero propulsion noise.

The team from Chennai's SRM University, comprising of Anita Mohil, Balakrishnan Solaraju Murali and Michael Thomas along with their academic mentor Sakhtivel Kasinath, is among the five finalists of a global competition organised by aircraft manufacturer Airbus and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation.

'Fly Your Ideas' -- a biennial competition, was launched in 2008 with an aim to challenge students across the globe to develop new ideas for the eco-efficient aviation industry of the future.

"SRM University propose to reduce propulsion noise thanks to jet exhaust shape modification using intelligent materials (shape memory alloys).

"These alloys are energised by harvested electricity generated by advanced thermoelectric materials using engine heat source," the team said in its entry for the contest.

The latest edition of Fly Your Ideas contest witnessed 6,000 students from 618 teams across 82 countries take up the challenge.

The other finalist teams are from Australia, Brazil, Italy and Malaysia with

their entries ranging from use of passenger body heat as an alternative energy source to a more efficient luggage loading and unloading systems.

All teams will present their ideas to a jury of Airbus and industry experts at Airbus' headquarters in Toulouse on June 12.

The winners will be announced at an exclusive ceremony at UNESCO's headquarters in Paris on June 14, when the winning team will receive a prize of 30,000 euros and the runners up 15,000 euros.

The competition is open to teams of three to five students from around the world, currently studying a Bachelors degree, Masters or PhD in any academic discipline, from engineering to marketing, business to science and philosophy to design.

The proposals had to cover one of six themes identified by Airbus as key 21st century challenges for a greener aviation industry.

Throughout the competition, Airbus mentors and experts worked with the teams to provide guidance and support with their projects.

"The entries were assessed by experienced Airbus engineers who were extremely impressed by the quality of work and innovation.

"These talented students from around the world represent the future of our industry and I am looking forward to welcoming them to Toulouse for the final round," said Charles Champion, Airbus' executive vice-president and 'Fly Your Ideas' Patron.

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