The University of Nottingham is to lead a new aerospace project to provide a unique national testing facility for the development of safer, greener aerospace engines.
Supported by the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI), the £5.6m project will support the development of the next generation of gas turbines and transmission systems for the aerospace sector. It will be housed at the University’s Energy Technologies Building, and will include a large two-shaft facility that supports a wide range of testing scenarios – something that is not readily available in the UK currently.
The project was announced by the Rt Hon. Anna Soubry MP, Business Minister, during a visit to the University on Monday 9 November 2015.
Together with its delivery partner Innovate UK, the ATI is funding almost half of the costs (£2.7m) of the project. The ATI was established to define and embed a technology strategy for the UK’s civil aerospace sector and guide the joint government-industry investment into R&D projects that align with that strategy.
The University’s commitment of £700,000 for the two-shaft rig is part of its wider £2.3m investment to develop a Gas Turbine and Transmissions Research Centre. The total value of the project includes contributions from the research programmes already secured with the University’s industry partners, including Rolls-Royce, which will be the facility’s first major customer.
Mark Jefferies, Chief of University Research Liaison at Rolls-Royce said: “We welcome the major investment in the new testing facility. Rolls-Royce is committed to developing the next generation of more efficient aero engines and this investment in gas turbine and transmissions research will play an important role. We are also pleased to strengthen our long-standing strategic partnership with the University of Nottingham in this key area.”
The facility will also be used for research and commercial testing for other sectors, including energy, rail, marine and automotive.
Professor Hervé Morvan, Director of the Institute for Aerospace Technology (IAT) at The University of Nottingham, said: “The Two-Shaft facility will enable innovative R&D activities to be performed at the University of Nottingham and will allow industry to conduct R&D investigations in all key areas of mechanical transmissions, in particular for aerospace.
“These substantial strategic investments reaffirm the University’s status as a centre of excellence for gas turbine and transmissions research and will provide a key foundation to support the leveraging of further funding from the UK and Europe.”
Simon Weeks, Chief Technology Officer of the Aerospace Technology Institute, said: “For the UK to maintain its leading position in the global aerospace market it is vital that we have access to world-class testing facilities. The two-shaft facility will be a unique resource for investigating engineering phenomena in high-performance transmission systems.
“This will be a major national facility, securing long-term research programmes for the University and supporting its work with its well-established partner Rolls-Royce, with other UK aerospace companies, and indeed with other UK companies in non-aerospace sectors.”
Other projects underway at the University have received support from the ATI, including the HEATSsim project, which will look at developing the design of gearboxes that play a significant role in aerospace engines, in particular those with geared fans and on helicopters.
The project is a collaboration between Romax Technology Limited, the University’s Institute for Aerospace Technology and ANSYS UK. It received funding as part of the ‘'Building UK’s Leadership in Aerospace Technology’ competition, in which 23 projects received £47 million of joint government and industry funding.
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Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham has 43,000 students and is ‘the nearest Britain has to a truly global university, with a “distinct” approach to internationalisation, which rests on those full-scale campuses in China and Malaysia, as well as a large presence in its home city.’ (Times Good University Guide 2016). It is also one of the most popular universities in the UK among graduate employers and the winner of ‘Research Project of the Year’ at the Times Higher Education Awards 2014. It is ranked in the world’s top 75 by the QS World University Rankings 2015/16, and 8th in the UK by research power according to the Research Excellence Framework 2014. It has been voted the world’s greenest campus for three years running, according to Greenmetrics Ranking of World Universities.
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