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University of Cincinnati to develop more efficient aircraft engine

May 30, 2013, Cincinnati, Oh. - Researchers from the University of Cincinnati (UC) have teamed up with United Technology Aerospace Systems (UTAS) to develop a next-generation aircraft engine, which will produce fewer emissions and function more efficiently.


May 30, 2013
By aerospace-technology.com

The research team is led by the Ohio Regents Eminent Scholar chaired professor of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics at UC, Ephraim Gutmark, and it includes the university doctoral students Brian Dolan, David Munday and Rodrigo Villalva.

The project is a follow-on from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) Environmentally Responsible Aviation Project, which works on vehicle concepts and technologies designed to reduce the impact of aviation on the environment.

The UC team has worked with UTAS's multipoint lean direct injection (MLDI) system, which is a variation of aircraft engine combustion chambers.

A typical aircraft engine features a single row of large fuel injectors in its combustor, while the MLDI system has multiple rows of smaller injectors.

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The result is more widely distributed combustion that is less vulnerable to instabilities and generates less nitrogen oxide emissions.

Ephraim Gutmark said that in the existing gas turbine engines, the combustors have relatively large fuel elements where the fuel is injected and mixed.

"The idea here was to replace them with smaller ones, but there are more of them that can actually distribute the combustion instead of having it focused in one concentrated zone," Gutmark said.

Having more injectors in the engine is an added advantage as the pilot will have the larger degree of control of the aeroplane.

Researchers stated that changing fuel consumption can be obtained with accuracy to accommodate the engine's altering thrust needs for taking off, landing, taxiing or cruising.

"You can change the mixture of what you're running much easier than when you have one concentrated location," Gutmark added. "The flexibility of operating the engine becomes much easier."

Greater fuel control also results in fewer emissions, the researchers said.

The project, 'Medium Pressure Emissions of a Multi-Point Low NOx Combustion System', will be demonstrated at the American Society of Mechanical Engineers International Gas Turbine Institute's Turbo Expo event scheduled to be held from 3-7 June in San Antonio, US.

UTAS, formerly known as Goodrich Aerospace, expects the technology developed by the project to reduce landing and takeoff cycle nitrogen oxide emissions by 75% of the International Civil Aviation Organization standards by 2020.