Coating technology for high performance future flight

RAEng/Rolls Royce Research Chair to drive development of more efficient aeroengine

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A prestigious research Chair will develop next-generation coatings for use in aero gas turbine engines, working with Rolls Royce to improve environmental, performance and fuel efficiency standards.

Ping Xiao, Professor of Materials Science at the University of Manchester, has been appointed Rolls-Royce/Royal Academy of Engineering Research Chair in Advanced Coating Technology and will work in collaboration with Rolls-Royce to bring a step change in aeroengine development.

Advanced coatings are crucial in ensuring the components of aero gas turbine engines function reliably in the high-temperature, high-demand environments encountered during operation.

These materials need to meet increasingly stringent environmental, performance and fuel efficiency targets, while also ensuring Rolls-Royce maintains its international competitive advantage. Professor Xiao, working with his group, uses a range of characterisation techniques to test how different coatings perform under the demanding conditions of flight.

The research conducted by the new Chair position will enable the design of next-generation coatings, crucial to future airplane performance and efficiency levels.


Henry Royce Institute capability supporting investment in research

To understand the performance of coatings, Professor Xiao uses a variety of characterisation techniques. The Royce has made characterisation infrastructure available which his group benefits from – for example, X-Ray CT equipment at The University of Manchester.

“From an efficiency and environmental point of view, we always want to run gas turbine aero engines to a high temperature. And of course, we want a long lifetime for each engine. So if we can create a step change in thermal barrier coatings, we can improve the ability to withstand temperature, and also reduce weight of the coated components.”

Royal Academy of Engineering/Rolls-Royce Research Chair in Advanced Coating Technology, The University of Manchester