Transportation


Aircraft Turbines

Technical Applications

Summary

For the turbojet engine, a key objective of the last 40 years has been to increase combustion temperatures for better efficiency and reduced fuel consumption, without burning up the turbine blades. This is done by better materials such as the ceramics mentioned elsewhere, better cooling approaches, and by better computational analysis methods.

Characteristics

Reduced emissions and reduced noise are also becoming extremely important for the civil sector. Performance improvements in core engine technology have historically been driven by military programs, and commercial engine development will continue to benefit from military research efforts. Hot section advances are most directly linked to materials development and innovation in cooling techniques. Improved transmissions would be instrumental in moving forward with advanced rotocraft designs, such as the next generation of the tilt-rotor.

ImpactEconomy

Efficiency of aircraft turbines significantly affects purchase price and operating costs of aircraft. Improved engines contribute to job creation in the aerospace sector, as well as to the competitiveness of the U.S. aerospace industry, because the U.S. is a major player in international aerospace markets. They also contribute to improvements in environmental quality by reducing emissions from aircraft engines and reduced energy consumption. Greater efficiency of aircraft engines also contributes to the warfighting capability of rapid global power projection.

WorldView

The United States has the overall lead in aircraft turbine engine technology, based on its superior military technology, but shares the lead in commercial propulsion systems technology with the UK's Rolls Royce. Europe has an edge in facilities for propulsion/airframe integration testing of large models at high Reynolds Numbers. They may also have an edge in technologies for noise reduction.