EPSRC Industrial Case Award/Rolls Royce - Application of CMCs for static sealing components to be used in high temperature engine components

Lead Research Organisation: University of Oxford
Department Name: Engineering Science


The doctoral research involves thermofluids of composite materials, in particular advanced sealing technologies for gas turbine engines. The project falls within the EPSRC Engineering research area. The research project is supervised by Professor Peter Ireland at the Oxford Thermofluids Institute of the University of Oxford.

The current advent of lean-burn jet engines has led to ever-increasing gas temperatures and pressures. As a gas turbine is a system integration, this drive for increased performance has created a demand for new materials able to resist extreme temperatures.

Advanced composites are an ideal material for certain engine components due to their ability to retain mechanical properties at high temperatures. As the implementation of advanced composites in jet engines is recent, the flows and heat loads associated with advanced seals is not well understood. Characterizing the flow physics associated with these new high temperature seals is essential to prevent hot gas ingestion in the turbine disc cavities and reduce internal gas leakages, both of which cause disastrous effects on engine life and performance.

The research will focus on the science and application of new, high temperature materials in advanced rotating seals within the jet engine core. The objective of the project is to examine the effects of advanced composites materials on the fluid flows and heat loads associated with advanced seals. Over twenty traditional and composite materials advanced sealing geometries will be examined experimentally. The best sealing geometries will be selected for applications in gas turbines, and new sealing geometries will be created based on post-processing results.

In the research, computational, analytical and experimental studies will be undertaken in parallel. Three test rigs will be designed to analyze performance, temperature deterioration and mechanical wear of the seals in engine representative conditions. In addition, simulations will be performed using Finite Element Geometry and Computational Fluid Mechanics to validate experimental results. Analytical models will also be studied to give a thorough insight of the flow inside the seal for simplified and idealized cases.

The industry involved in this research is Rolls-Royce Aerospace. The involvement of an industrial partner such as Rolls-Royce provides the opportunity to work on real engine components. In addition the findings of the research will be directly applied to a current and future gas turbines.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/T517653/1 30/09/2019 29/09/2025
2441851 Studentship EP/T517653/1 30/09/2020 29/09/2023 Provence Claude-Suzon Provence Barnouin