Rolls-Royce University Technology Center
Combustor Turbine Interaction

The joint research centre of the Technical University Darmstadt (TUD) and Rolls-Royce is named “Combustor and Turbine Aerothermal Interaction” (CTI) and primarily deals with the aerodynamic and thermal interaction between combustion chamber and turbine in aircraft engines. The goal of this cooperation is the development of new technologies for reducing the fuel consumption as well as a reduction of pollutant emissions. The Rolls-Royce University Technology Centre (UTC) was founded in 2006 and has since achieved valuable results in the field of environmental sustainability of aircraft engines. In this manner, the UTC serves one of the primary objectives of the aviation industry which pursues strict environmental goals throughout the industry sector until 2020, according to the research alliance ACARE (Advisory Council for Aeronautics Research in Europe).

The challenging aim to reduce nitrogen oxides by 90% and CO_2 by 75% is only possible by means of fundamental redesigning of the combustion process. In doing so, technical changes of the combustion chamber necessarily need to be taken into account when designing the turbine because turbine entrance temperatures already exceed the melting temperatures of the applied materials. Highly developed cooling mechanisms ensure turbine operation at these temperature levels and allow for high efficiencies as well as low CO2 emissions in modern aircraft engines.

The research centre at the TU Darmstadt is moving within this development environment while investigating new combustion technologies and their modelling approaches, as well as the respective impact on the turbine.

The UTC is directed by Prof. Heinz-Peter Schiffer, responsible for the Institute of Gasturbines and Aerospace Propulsion (GLR), and Prof. Johannes Janicka, responsible for the department of Enery and Power Plant Technology (EKT).

In this context, currently 31 PhDs are working directly together with Rolls-Royce Deutschland on research projects to optimise jet engines.

Besides these institutes the institute Reactive Flows and Diagnostics (RSM), directed by Prof. Francesca di Mare and Prof. Andreas Dreizler, and the Institute for Mechatronic Systems in Mechanical Engineering (IMS), directed by Prof. Stephan Rinderknecht, are involved in the research co-operation.

Rolls-Royce works together closely with selected, renowned universities called University Technology Centres (UTCs). This enables Rolls-Royce to

• complement its own research and technology programmes effectively with top-level staff,

• react to new challenges in research quickly,

• help train and interest highly qualified and motivated staff for the company.

The close co-operation enables the academic research partners to

• work on up-to-date, highly relevant research task,

• act in a long term partnership, providing financial security,

• get access to valuable know-how.

• The network covers 31 UTCs worldwide.

• The first UTCs originated in the United Kingdom in 1990 at Imperial College London and Oxford University.

• The network is organised internationally according to the global scope of Rolls-Royce.

• There are approximately 400 publications per annum by the UTC network or in co-operation of Rolls-Royce and the network.

• 600 People are working within the UTC network worldwide.

• 350 PhD candidates are supported by Rolls-Royce worldwide, the majority works within the UTC network.

• Nearly 10 per cent of all patents filed by Rolls-Royce per year are worked out in co-operation with the UTCs.

At the UTC Darmstadt 28 research projects were conducted together with Rolls-Royce in the last years in which 28 PhD students were involved – two generations of PhDs were trained at the UTC. Besides, about 50 Bachelor and Master Theses are written at the UTC per annum and 100 students are working on key problems of the UTC. Many of these students take jobs in the aviation industry, at Rolls-Royce but also in the energy and automotive sector. Germany’s national industry is therefore supported with valuable managing staff.