Case study

Design of an aerospace electrical propulsion shaft

Development of a high power aerospace electrical propulsion shaft from early concept through to detailed design.

Our people worked effectively with multi-disciplinary teams of specialists to quickly address the design challenges and delivered a detailed design of a complex shaft system in challenging timescales.


Our system design teams undertook a high level assessment of a number of proposed concepts and quickly worked out that the key design challenge would be to find a rotordynamic solution at an acceptable weight. Our in-house rotordynamic specialists quickly assessed the performance of the concept shaft layouts, while the design teams collated and understood all other requirements that would impact the design.



Combining the rotordynamic conclusions for a range of shaft layout options with other known design and programme constraints, such as assembly, materials and manufacturing process availability, we were able to demonstrate through a formal concept down-select activity which was the preferred concept against the requirements set. We used systems engineering tools to select and validate the most appropriate concept.

Our ability to rapidly deploy a cross functional team to projects such as this greatly speeds up the early design and concept generation phase, as it allows us to consider all aspects of potential solutions in parallel at a high level. This enables us to give good confidence early on that the correct concept has been identified and is progressed.



With the concept identified, the detailed design phase of the project began and our team worked through the client’s internal gated process addressing the required aspects of the design for the various components. We made numerous iterations to the final design, based on learning from a series of high fidelity 2D and 3D structural models of the wider system, as well as updated rotordynamic models. Additional aspects such as assembly, balancing, thermals, safety and interfaces with surrounding components were all considered, working collaboratively within the client organisation. Our final deliverable was a design pack consisting of in-depth design and structural reports along with a full suite of manufacturing drawings – everything required to produce the components.

We now have a proven track record in the field of hybrid propulsion systems and the challenges associated with high power density electrical machines.