Figure 1. Connectivity between the themes

Structure of the research programme

The research programme consists of six strongly interlinked research themes, T1 to T6. Each of the themes will be made up of a series of work packages (WPs) designed to deliver the project objectives, and described in detail in the Technical Annexes. The programme of work will be managed flexibly by a Management Committee (MC), in order to achieve the overall project objectives and maximise the most productive areas of research.

It is anticipated that much of the research impact will come at the interfaces of the themes. Themes 1 to 3 are concerned with underpinning technologies that will inform almost all aspects of the Programme; they are concerned with design, uncertainty and fundamental V&V. Themes 4 to 6 are concerned with advances in modelling technology critical to the overall aims of virtualisation: Theme 5 is concerned with the crucial ingredient of joining submodels into overall models. Themes 4 and 6 will provide advances in control and hybrid modelling that can leverage information from substructure testing into virtual structure testing. Connectivity between the themes is summarised in Figure 1; the uncertainty theme sits at the centre of this structure, as its technology is the key to unlocking the full promise of the other themes. The themes relate to the three research objectives, as shown in Figure 1:

  • O1 on design will focus on developing new design methodologies to reduce design time and cost using the digital twin framework. Questions to be addressed include: How can a digital twin reduce risk in the design? And how can regions of model trust be increased?
  • O2 is focused on understanding uncertainty propagation and management. Questions include: How can uncertainty be managed using a digital twin? This applies both to design of new structures and ongoing management and life extension of existing structures.
  • O3 will focus on radically improving the level of robustness obtainable in a validated model. For example, by answering the question: How can sub-system model validation be extrapolated to the larger scale system? This is particularly important for dynamics applications, as many dynamic phenomena are emergent, and can currently only be validated via full scale testing, which is often prohibitively expensive.

Collectively, addressing these three objectives will lead to delivery of the overall project aim of a robustly-validated digital twin technology for design and operation of critical dynamics applications. Our methodology will be to use the combined analytical, numerical and experimental methods associated with traditional structural dynamics, interlinked with methods from applied mathematics, probability and statistics, machine learning, computer science and other specific areas. These will be applied using a number of User Cases that are highly relevant to the problems being investigated.