Project Number: 92
Category: Aircraft Technology Innovation
This project will significantly advance the efficiency levels of small core gas turbines relevant to today’s engines, as well as future propulsion architectures such as hybrid electric propulsion systems for large single- and twin-aisle aircraft. The motivation for this research is aimed at reducing the carbon footprint of aviation through increases in turbine thermal efficiencies, while maintaining or even improving component durability. This project will expand the infrastructure and research scope of the Steady Thermal Aero Research Turbine (START) Lab at the Pennsylvania State University in which a two-stage, small core, test turbine will be designed, manufactured, commissioned, and put to use in acquiring the needed data for the project goal. The test capability expansion will result in a research turbine facility like no other in the world and will put turbine research in the United States at the leading edge for efficiency improvement and emissions reduction for future propulsion applications.
The creation of a small core, two-stage test turbine facility will provide gas turbine manufacturers the opportunity to acquire needed durability and stage efficiency data required to advance technologies relevant to new turbine designs. Specifically, research in this new facility will address new turbine cycles, impacts of manufacturing features as turbine cores shrink, and provide opportunities to test novel cooling designs embedded in new turbine blade materials such as ceramic matrix composites. The data from the two-stage test turbine is needed for developing improved computational tools for small core turbines that are currently outside of the design space of existing analytical capabilities. In total, the capability of this rig is expected to be critical to support improved efficiency, and thereby reduced CO2 emissions, from future turbine engines.
Last updated 7/10/2023