Rolls-Royce Plc. is renewing and expanding a technology partnership with Purdue University to conduct research into new aircraft propulsion systems. According to their announcement, the OEM will stake $33 million on the project, in which Purdue has gained ‘University Technology Partnership’ status. It encompasses two research centers, for thermal management systems and advanced compressor systems.
The Rolls-Royce funding will support research and technology development in thermal management for advanced propulsion systems, compressor and turbine technology, and analytical methods.
The University’s Maurice J. Zucrow Laboratories, Purdue University Airport, and Purdue Aviation are located at the Purdue Research Park Aerospace District in West Lafayette, Ind. Recently, Rolls announced plans to set up a 40,000-sq.ft. R&D lab there.
The new Purdue UTP will expand the focus of the University Technology Center that the two established in 2003 to study high-Mach propulsion. It was the first Rolls-Royce UTC established outside of Europe. Now, it will transition into a focus on systems for advanced thermal management, according to Dan Hirleman, Purdue’s chief corporate and global partnerships officer.
New research will begin, toward new aerothermal processes in compressors.
"Research and development in jet engines is an important objective for Rolls-Royce as we strive to create jet engines that are more energy-efficient and can perform even more effectively," stated Phil Burkholder, president of Rolls-Royce Defense Aerospace, North America.
Rolls’ plant in Indianapolis develops, assembles, and tests engines installed in defense aircraft and civil helicopters, regional and business jets, and naval and marine vessels. Rolls-Royce also conducts aerospace R&D in Indianapolis.
Last fall, it outlined plans to invest nearly $600 million to modernize the Indianapolis jet-engine manufacturing plant. According to their announcement, Rolls-Royce employs nearly 600 Purdue alumni.
"Purdue has always been a great partner with Rolls-Royce and I am confident that our collaborative research will result in strong long-term advances in jet engine development," Burkholder added.