Rolls-Royce and Pratt & Whitney have signed a joint agreement with Virginia Tech for pre-competitive research focused on the impact of environmental contaminants on aeroengine operation and testing.
The four-year project will leverage Virginia Tech’s research and cross-discipline expertise on engine operation, instrumentation, and geosciences as well as the current research relationships that both Pratt & Whitney and Rolls-Royce have with the university.
This research relationship continues the longstanding collaboration between Rolls-Royce and Pratt & Whitney on issues that are common across the aerospace industry. The two companies have partnered on several government-based research projects, including a study focused on volcanic ash damage to aircraft engines. Work on this front has taken place in the U.S., UK and around the world, with various groups developing some of the basic understanding needed before complex modelling can be undertaken. The collaboration between Pratt & Whitney, Rolls-Royce and Virginia Tech in this research initiative is designed to add the more complicated engine testing available at Virginia Tech to further develop mitigation strategies, and to provide information back to these more basic research activities from actual engine operations.
Detrimental effects of particle ingestion are common concerns in the aerospace industry and can lead to accelerated engine ageing and performance loss.
The short-term goal for this work is leveraging learning from smaller engine tests, which will be performed on a Rolls-Royce M250® engine, to influence large-engine test programmes by accounting for the difference in engine architecture and operating conditions.
The impact of environmental contaminants costs hundreds of millions of dollars of losses annually for both commercial and military operations as air travel has expanded around the world. This is a multifaceted problem that ranges from basic scientific questions about the complex chemistry of environmental contaminants within the engine, to fleet operations, maintenance procedures, engine design and even weather prediction. It spans a wide range of scientific issues to practical engineering problems which are well suited to a multi-discipline-focused project.