Rolls-Royce links with Karlsruhe University on ‘hot-end’ engine technology

Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Rolls-Royce today opened a new University Technology Centre (UTC) at Karlsruhe University in Germany to research cooling in gas turbine combustors and turbines and related technologies required to improve the fuel efficiency and environmental performance of future aero engines.

The latest Rolls-Royce UTC – the fourth to be established in Germany – was formally unveiled at a ceremony at the University, attended by regional government ministers, senior University and Rolls-Royce staff.

The economic and environmental demands on the aviation industry call for aero engines to operate at ever-higher fuel efficiency levels, which means running at higher temperatures. Efficient cooling systems are vital to prevent combustion and turbine components – even those made from the most advanced alloys – from melting, and the UTC will take an holistic approach to maximise the use of air for cooling. Using less air for cooling, and more in the combustion process will help further to reduce engine emissions.

Rolls-Royce selected Karlsruhe University as a research partner because of its broad experience in each key area of cooling technology. It is one of only three German universities, and the only one outside Munich, to be awarded funding as part of the German Excellence Initiative that seeks to promote top-level academic research and make a significant contribution to the long-term strength of science and research in Germany.

The University has proven academic capability in the research areas of combustion cooling in very hot environments, film cooling and two-phase-flow, plus a range of rigs and sophisticated hardware, innovative methods and measurement techniques.

Rolls-Royce combustion technology spans the UK and Germany. Two Rolls-Royce co-ordinators who will manage the day-to-day liaison with the university are both based at Rolls-Royce Deutschland in Dahlewitz.

It is expected that Karlsruhe will work closely with a number of existing Rolls-Royce UTCs in the UK – notably those based in Surrey, Loughborough and Nottingham universities, and the Osney Laboratory in Oxford – that collectively focus on research into heat transfer, combustion, computational fluid dynamics (CFD), aerothermal techniques and component interactions, and provide highly specialised modelling, validation and testing capabilities.

Ric Parker, Rolls-Royce Director – Research and Technology, attending today’s ceremony said: “The technical areas that will form the focus for the Karlsruhe UTC are fundamental to help us provide further environmental benefits for our future products. Karlsruhe University is the fourth Rolls-Royce UTC in Germany – after Cottbus, Darmstadt and Dresden – and we also work closely with DLR; we are delighted to be expanding our academic network in this country. We take great pride in selecting universities that are world leaders in their field and Karlsruhe is no exception.”

The Rector of Karlsruhe University, Professor Horst Hippler, said: “The scientific landscape in Germany is on the brink of fundamental change. The establishment of the ‘Karlsruhe Institute of Technology’ will bring a fusion of scientific research, education and innovation – and the opening of the Rolls-Royce University Technology Centre at our university is a symbol for this new concept of innovation that we want to pursue here.”

  1. Since 1990, Rolls-Royce has established a global network of 29 University Technology Centres. Initially established mostly in the UK, UTCs have in recent years been founded in the US, Norway, Sweden, Italy, and Germany. Each addresses a key technology. Collectively they tackle a wide range of engineering disciplines – from combustion and aerodynamics to noise and manufacturing technology. In addition to the UTC network, research centres have been established in Singapore, Spain, Germany, US, and UK.
  2. UTCs are long-term, funded collaborations that ensure continuity of work – offering high-quality technology for the company and real-world challenges for academic partners. Each is led by a world-class academic and supported by a strong team of research associates, students, technicians and facilities.
  3. Rolls-Royce has considerable research links with Germany, including work programmes with several universities and with DLR, the national aerospace research institute. In the last two years, UTCs were established at Cottbus, with the Brandenburg Technology University, Dresden University and Darmstadt University.
  4. Rolls-Royce Deutschland has a workforce of over 2,900 divided between its two sites in Dahlewitz, near Berlin, and Oberursel, near Frankfurt am Main. It is the only German engine manufacturer officially approved to develop, manufacture and maintain modern civil and military turbine engines. Developed in Dahlewitz, the BR700 engine family included the first German civil jet engines to win international certification. Dahlewitz is the Rolls-Royce Group’s centre of competence for two-shaft engines – responsible for Tay, Spey, Dart and V2500 engine series.

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