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Improving Aero-Engine Sealing Efficiency


   Department of Mechanical Engineering


About the Project

This project is in collaboration with Rolls-Royce, and will carried out within the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Sheffield with an annual tax-free stipend of £25,000 for a period of 3.5 years.

In aero-engine design, ensuring gas flow is not lost through leakage, is an essential requirement for efficient performance and low fuel consumption, and is achieved by having very tight clearances between static and rotating parts. This requirement is met for rotating blades and shafts by using abradable linings. These linings feature throughout the engine, and for example in the turbine, are used on the inside of the casing, allowing tight clearances whilst providing a material for the blades to cut into, should the blades come into contact with it as the engine flexes during flight.

As the turbine is in one of the hottest parts of the engine, lining materials are typically made from ceramics so as to withstand the extreme temperatures present, making them difficult for blades to cut. In order to solve this issue, blades are coated with abrasive grits, with the durability of the matrix attaching the grits to the blade being a key consideration. Building on previous work characterising abradable linings at Sheffield, this project will investigate the contact between abrasive tipped blades and ceramic liners, with the aim of enabling aero-engines to run hotter for longer, thus achieving extended flight durations and improved fuel efficiency.

Testing will be undertaken on a novel heated high-speed test platform for abradable linings at the University, within a team of three existing PhD students researching different aspects of abradable materials. This studentship is closely aligned to a range of on-going Rolls-Royce development programmes leading to a close working relationship, and will involve regular meetings with Rolls-Royce stakeholders.

 Candidate Profile

This studentship is available to home students. You should have, or be expected to achieve, a first or upper second class UK honours degree (or equivalent) in Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science or related discipline.

Further Information

The main supervisor on this project will be Prof. Matt Marshall, with additional guidance provided by the Surface Engineering group within Rolls-Royce. For further information about this studentship please email Matt ().

To apply please use our standard on-line PhD application form, and indicate on your form that you are replying to this advert, or email for further guidance on applying.


Funding Notes

This studentship covers the cost of tuition fees and provides an annual tax-free stipend of £25,000 per annum, for a period of 3.5 years for UK (home) students.

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