Versatile Fluid Measurement System for Aerospace Research

Project: Research council


Meeting the UK's ambitious 2050 emissions targets will require ambitious research programmes capable of creating a step change in the efficiency of engineering systems. The aim of the Aerospace Engineering Research Centre (AERC), at the University of Bath, is to realise this goal through aerodynamically efficient aircraft and cleaner gas turbine engines. These traditionally separate research strands have grown increasingly interdisciplinary requiring greater collaboration and new research methodologies. One of the principle challenges facing both these research fields is the measurement of velocity and species concentration; these quantities are invisible to the naked eye but vital in understanding the flow physics. To circumvent this problem the flow can be seeded and the material tracked thus making the invisible, visible. This proposal will provide the AERC with a Versatile Fluid Measurement System (VFMS) for concentration, velocity, temperature and deformation measurements that is unique worldwide. This capability is absolutely state of the art and will be further developed by the AERC to create new measurement possibilities in the fields of aerodynamics and gas turbine research. An aircraft in turbulence is familiar to any passenger, however the problem associated with gusts and turbulence goes far beyond mere discomfort. The aircraft engineers must take account of these load scenarios during the aircraft design process. As the largest loads are experienced during gusts, turbulence and extreme manoeuvres these scenarios tend to dictate the aircraft's structure, and therefore its weight, even though they are very rare occurrences. In the AERC we are developing both improved gust alleviation strategies that will allow for lighter, more fuel efficient, aircraft and more accurate design tools that will reduce aircraft development time and encourage innovation in the design process. Gas turbines are predominantly used for aircraft propulsion and industrial power generation. Previous research and development has resulted in gas turbines that operate at extremely high speeds and beyond the melting point of the components themselves. To control these extreme temperatures requires the bleeding of cold air from the low-temperature compressors to create a coolant film over the high-temperature turbine components. Efficient use of this coolant directly impacts on the efficiency of the turbine but its interaction with the mainstream gas path is still poorly understood. There is therefore great scope for improvement. This equipment will be used for world-first non-intrusive measurements to trace the three-dimensional secondary gas path and its interaction with the mainstream flow and to derive 2D temperature maps of the rotor surface. This information will be directly compared with computational simulations and be used to improve gas turbine efficiency.
Effective start/end date1/04/1530/03/20


Aerospace engineering
Engineering research
Gas turbines
Aircraft propulsion
Turbine components
Systems engineering
Power generation
Melting point