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Purdue, Rolls-Royce team up for next-gen jet engine

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.

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. Photo courtesy of Purdue University.

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.

The agreement calls for a turbine test rig to be installed at the Purdue Experimental Turbine Aerothermal Laboratory, where faculty and graduate students will work side by side to advance the technology.

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.

David Tulis

David Tulis

Senior Photographer
Senior Photographer David Tulis joined AOPA in 2015 and is a private pilot with single-engine land and sea ratings and a tailwheel endorsement. He is also a certificated remote pilot and co-host of the award-wining AOPA Hangar Talk podcast. David enjoys vintage aircraft ad photography.
Topics: Aviation Industry

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