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Cutting-edge research revolutionises aircraft engine design
- An ongoing partnership with Rolls-Royce is developing more fuel efficient and less polluting engine technology
Loughborough research – dating back almost 20 years – underpins patented engine technology that is more fuel efficient and less polluting.
The ongoing experimental research explores the aerodynamic interactions at the aero-engine compressor-combustor interface.
Much of the work and technology transfer has been supported by the Loughborough-based Rolls-Royce University Technology Centre in Combustion System Aerothermal Processes.
During the course of the work, the Loughborough team have established ways to improve fuel efficiency whilst identifying novel test methods to study complex flow physics which now support Rolls-Royce engine design processes.
Meanwhile, the resulting technology has been used by Rolls-Royce to enhance the performance of their entire Trent engine family. To date, five engines – operating on more than 900 aircraft – have benefited.
The Trent XWB – the world’s most efficient and fastest-selling wide-body aero-engine – began flight tests in mid-2013. This engine – which powers the Airbus A350 – uses the latest Loughborough development.
Improved fuel efficiency
Test-flights of Rolls-Royce’s Trent XWB engines which make use of the technology began in 2013 – it is estimated that savings of 20,000kg of fuel per aircraft will be made each year.
The work has attracted funding – from various UK and European public and industrial funding bodies – amounting to £2.3m.
Opened in 1991, the Centre is home to state-of-the-art research facilities and has supported 50 successful PhD candidates, led to more than 180 journal publications and 260 conference papers, and the award of several worldwide patents.
Rolls-Royce and Loughborough University continue to work together to improve aviation efficiencies and reduce the industry’s environmental impacts.