Design Engineering


Sacha Hussey
Systems Design Integration within Defence Aerospace
Dr Weston Baxter
Engineering Intern
Automotive and Aerospace

My placement was with the Rolls-Royce Systems Design Integration (SDI) team within Defence Aerospace. Defence Aerospace develop military engines, while the SDI team (in Bristol and Indianapolis) model, design, and engineer systems, and integrate subsystems. Due to Coronavirus, my placement experience was completely virtual.

My expectations were to work on systems design projects, develop my technical and theoretical knowledge of turbomachinery, and improve my interpersonal skills. During my placement, I reviewed a CAD software, undertook literature reviews on topical areas within the organisation, and used newly gained model-based systems engineering (MBSE) knowledge to contribute to modelling a system.

 — Rolls-Royce

Demonstration of Design Engineering Thinking and Skills

One of my projects involved working in a team and using model-based systems engineering (MBSE) (a systems engineering methodology that uses domain models instead of documents) and the software Cameo Systems Modeler to model part of a test washing machine system. The purpose was to test and realise the modelling process in advance of a software integration so that questions could be addressed beforehand. To create the diagrams to model the system, I applied my experience addressing entire product lifecycles. My previous human-centred design projects helped me when defining stakeholder needs. From the project, I gained new MBSE skills.

Another project involved a review of ANSYS Discovery Live, which is a GPU-based software that allows CAD modelling and simulations in the same environment. One way I tested the software was with a mini gas turbine generator CAD model; by running simulations on it, editing its geometry, and using hand calculations to determine its performance characteristics. This project required me to apply my CAE and CAD skills, and knowledge obtained from my university Mechanics and Energy & Design modules. From this project, I developed my CAE skills and extended my knowledge on aerodynamics of turbomachinery, aerothermal equations, gas turbine theory, and compressor theory.

I carried out literature reviews on both hybrid electric aircraft technologies and Stage-Gate review processes (models used for project management that involve ‘gates’ to overcome at each stage). My experience writing literature review reports helped me in these projects. I developed new knowledge in the related areas.

Role and Contributions

My role was an Engineering Intern within the Systems Design Integration core team within Defence Aerospace. I brought the required technical skills and theoretical knowledge, but also a cross-disciplinary outlook and T-shaped thinking to projects. These skills help to realise Rolls-Royce’s core value of innovation and forward thinking, as well as help to confront open-ended or problem-solving technical tasks from an alternative viewpoint.In the MBSE project I worked on, the model I created will be used as a reference model and for training purposes. My modelling also helped with the testing of the modelling process and raised questions to be addressed, saving time and effort when the modelling process is replicated in future projects.My ANSYS Discovery Live review PowerPoint informed the team on the software’s capabilities and provided a resource to assist the decision on whether implementation of it within Rolls-Royce should go ahead. The report I created, documenting my analysis of the mini turbine generator, can be used as a resource if a similar model needs to be analysed.For my literature review on hybrid electric aircraft, I created PowerPoint and report deliverables, which informed the team on the up-to-date details on the topical subject and major area of development within Rolls-Royce. I compiled my findings from my literature review on Stage-Gate review processes into a PowerPoint. This informed the team on the processes that other companies use and can potentially be used to improve the Design Technical Approval process used at Rolls-Royce.


My placement was successful as I honed both my technical and interpersonal skills. I also developed the skill of successfully delivering while working remotely. It was clear during weekly meetings with the Bristol and Indianapolis sides of the SDI team that this is a valuable skill to have in an international organisation like Rolls-Royce. My projects also inspired new and more defined areas of interest for my future studies (e.g. final year electives) and my future career.


No comments have been posted on this project yet.

Outdated Browser

This website has been built using some of the latest web technologies. Unfortunately, your browser doesn't support these technologies. To update your browser, please visit Outdated Browser.