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New Pratt & Whitney Center of Excellence expands gas turbine research

D’Souza, center left, and Mathison, center rightD’Souza, center left, and Mathison, center right, along with research staff and graduate students from the Gas Turbine Laboratory, display a shroud component similar to the ones that will be used in the turbine blade rub research with Pratt & WhitneyThe Ohio State University will soon expand its investigation of jet engines and gas turbines, thanks to a collaboration with aerospace manufacturer Pratt & Whitney. A multi-year agreement will setup the Pratt & Whitney Center of Excellence in the Gas Turbine Laboratory, located at the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering’s Aerospace Research Center.

The center’s activities will focus on the development of an innovative high-temperature rig in which turbine engine blade tip rub experiments can be conducted. Turbine blades operate within a structured casing in the engine—required minimal clearance between the two poses a risk for the blade’s tip rubbing on the casing, resulting in potential performance degradation or even system failure.

“Ohio State’s Gas Turbine Lab has a great deal of expertise in blade tip rub research,” said Kiran D’Souza, assistant professor and principal investigator of the center. “We’re proud to partner with Pratt & Whitney to investigate solutions to this industry-wide issue.”

Air motor and assembly parts for turbine rig at the Gas Turbine LaboratoryAir motor and assembly parts for turbine rig at the Gas Turbine LaboratoryAssistant Professor Randy Mathison, co-principal investigator, further described the center’s research initiatives. “The goal of the center is to develop a better understanding of blade tip rub dynamics and material characterization at design-speed and engine-relevant temperatures.”

Professor Emeritus Michael Dunn, also a co-principal investigator with the center, brings over 50 years of gas turbine expertise to the research initiatives.

Faculty and staff at the laboratory will operate the center, which has an initial term of October 2018 – December 2023.

The new center joins the department’s Pratt & Whitney Center of Excellence in Gearbox Technology, housed in the Gear and Power Transmission Research Laboratory.