28029 Optimization under uncertainty of a supersonic air jet nozzle
Begeleider(s): ir. Axel Bral

Richtingen: Master of Science in Electromechanical Engineering


Air jet looms (Figure 1) are very popular weaving machines due to the high insertion rate (up to 2000 insertions per minute) and the reduced number of moving parts compared to projectile and rapier looms. However, the use of compressed air as propelling medium causes a high energy cost (in the order of 10 kWh/kg of woven fabric). Due to the high number of degrees of freedom on a main nozzle, optimizing by means of an experimental campaign is unfeasible, which favours numerical simulations. As high-fidelity models have a high computational cost, researchers often resort to surrogate models. These models require less computational time (order of minutes or even seconds) at the cost of some accuracy and allow for a high number of simulations. Figure 2 shows a typical flow pattern inside the main nozzle of an air jet loom.

Figure 1: Schematic of an air jet loom (after: L. Szabó and L. Szabó, International Journal of Engineering, 2012)

Figure 1: Schematic of air jet loom (after L. Szabó and L. Szabó, International Journal of Engineering, 2012).

Figure 2: Typical flow pattern inside the main nozzle of an air jet loom. Note the shock pattern: a deviation in inlet pressure can significantly change this pattern and thus influence the forces on the yarn (source: N. Delaissé, 2019). 

In recent years, several low-fidelity models have been developed in our research group. These models are deterministic: the geometry and inlet conditions are assumed to be exact. In reality however, quite some uncertainty is present in the system. Indeed, machines are manufactured up to a certain tolerance, inlet pressures might deviate from the set value and the yarns show a high degree of uncertainty in diameter and hairiness, to name a few. Including uncertainty in the optimization allows to estimate the importance of certain tolerances and the influence of deviations from a set point. For example, it may be possible to produce machines in a cheaper way if a certain nozzle part can be manufactured with less strict tolerances or the robustness can be increased by ensuring that the force on the yarn is in the right direction with a very high probability.


The goal of this thesis is to use a set of tools to perform optimization of the main nozzle in an air jet loom under uncertainty. The obtained results will be valuable for the textile industry in order to reduce energy consumption, leading to both economical and ecological profit. The tools and skills acquired during this thesis will certainly help during your engineering career, as it is likely that you will face process optimization one day. 

In a first step, optimization of a main nozzle geometry using a surrogate model will be performed, while uncertainty is still neglected. A simple structural model will be developed to estimate the yarn velocity, introducing the student to the domain of fluid-structure interaction (FSI). This can be done in the flow solver or using the in-house Python code CoCoNuT to couple a flow solver with a structural solver.

In a second step, uncertainty will be included by using the SAMURAI package (Surrogate-assisted Asynchronous Multi-objective optimization under Uncertainty framework for Robust and reliable solutions to Applications in Industry), which has recently been developed in the research group. The optimization will then be repeated, with uncertainty on the dimensions and/or operating conditions.

In general, in this thesis you will: