Rolls-Royce's Engine Environmental Protection team ensures engine resilience in extreme cold conditions, exemplifying the industry's commitment to air safety on a snowy runway

The quest for air safety in extreme conditions

Explore the skies with Rolls-Royce as we delve into their groundbreaking work in extreme conditions, exemplifying the industry's commitment to air safety and reliability

When commercial flights soar at incredible speeds and altitudes, the conditions faced by aircraft engines are nothing short of extreme. Work by ASD member Rolls-Royce on aircraft engines in extreme conditions exemplifies the commitment of the industry to researching and innovating for ever greater safety and reliability.

Rolls-Royce's Engine Environmental Protection team, headquartered in Derby, UK, and comprising 20 professionals at various locations, specialises in studying atmospheric conditions that could potentially impair engine performance.

At their GLACIER facility in Manitoba, Canada, rigorous cold-weather tests are conducted to simulate the bone-chilling conditions experienced at high altitudes. Cruising at approximately 600mph and reaching heights of 40,000 feet, aircraft engines must withstand temperatures as low as -60 degrees Celsius.

And the work of Rolls-Royce’s Engine Environmental Protection team goes beyond common hazards like rain, hail, and icing to encompass other challenges such as sand, dust, corrosive gases, and volcanic ash.

Sand and volcanic ash, though similar in composition, differ in concentration and impact. While both can corrode and clog engine components, volcanic ash, with its glass-forming properties, poses a more severe threat. Understanding how these factors work is crucial for enhancing engine resilience, a goal at the heart of the industry's commitment to safety.

And Rolls-Royce's commitment to air safety goes beyond challenges we already know about; it anticipates new factors that are emerging in a changing planet. The Engine Environmental Protection team harnesses vast data sets from testing and commercial flights to understand new threats. Their insights significantly influence the design of the next generation of large turbofan engines.

The work of the Engine Environmental Protection team ensures that engines not only meet current safety standards but also pave the way for a next era in civil aviation. Optimal cooling air off-takes, strategic routing, and innovative coatings, including sand-resistant thermal barriers, exemplify Rolls-Royce's proactive approach to engine design. The aerospace industry's collective pursuit of excellence is inspired by a vision of a world where the skies are navigated with unmatched safety and reliability.

Source: Rolls Royce