Purdue University, Rolls-Royce, and the state of Indiana are pursuing a $24 million jointly funded program to advance turbine aerodynamics and heat-transfer technologies.
The three entities announced the research partnership at the 2017 Paris Air Show, and Rolls-Royce plans to apply the new technology to jet engine blades and fans produced at the engine-maker’s Indiana facilities.
A news release explained that turbine airfoils are “individual components within a jet engine that extract energy from the high temperature, high pressure air produced by the combustor.” The airfoils “operate in the hottest part of the jet engine, in temperatures that are far greater than the melting point of metals.”
The collaboration between the university, the longtime engine-builder, and the state focuses on technology, advanced materials, and modern manufacturing methods to help cool the devices so they can provide optimum performance in that “extreme environment.”
Purdue University President Mitch Daniels said the institution and Rolls-Royce have "a long history of collaboration in research and development" that has benefited the aerospace industry. He said the university looked forward to “even greater successes for our partners, our researchers and our students.”
Indiana Gov. Eric J. Holcomb pointed out past success between the state’s universities and its aerospace industry leaders. “With this latest team-up between the state, Purdue and Rolls-Royce, I can’t wait to see new turbine technology take flight in Indiana.”
Rolls-Royce and its predecessors have a century-old relationship with the state of Indiana, and the company employs more than 4,000 at its Indianapolis facility where it has designed, assembled, and tested powerplants for U.S. Department of Defense aircraft, civil helicopters, regional and business jets, and power systems for U.S. Naval vessels.