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More efficient Rolls-Royce turbine inches closer with successful gearbox test

More efficient Rolls-Royce tur...
Rolls-Royce has put its new gearbox to the test
Rolls-Royce has put its new gearbox to the test
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Rolls-Royce has put its new gearbox to the test
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Rolls-Royce has put its new gearbox to the test

Rolls-Royce has inched a step closer to putting its upcoming UltraFan into production, having successfully run the world's most powerful aerospace gearbox for the first time. The tests were conducted at the company's facilities in Dahlewitz, Germany, and mark a significant step towards more powerful, efficient engines for passenger jets.

The Power Gearbox is a crucial part in the UltraFan engine, allowing it to work efficiently across a wide range of takeoff thrusts. Initial tests don't get anywhere near takeoff thrust, though. Instead, the gearbox was strapped to the Rolls-Royce Attitude Rig, which lets engineers simulate the effects of climbing, descending and banking.

Having tested the oil system's functionality at low pressure, the next step for Rolls-Royce is to run its gearbox through an increasingly intense set of scenarios, before it faces full-power testing next year.

The gearbox will connect the turbine at the back of the engine with the fans at the front. Although fitting bigger fans to aircraft engines is one way to generate more power, bigger fans need to be driven by bigger turbines, and there comes a point where the size of the turbines becomes prohibitive. UltraFan is designed to avoid this problem, using a gearbox to keep the turbine and fans spinning at optimum speeds during all stages of a flight to yield more power and efficiency.

"This is another significant step in bringing our future technology to life," says Mike Whitehead, Rolls-Royce chief engineer and head of the UltraFan Technologies Program. "We launched the UltraFan design in 2014 and now we are putting our new infrastructure to work to turn it into reality."

When it launches in 2025, Rolls-Royce says the TurboFan will be 25 percent more efficient than current-generation Trent engines.

Source: Rolls-Royce

6 comments
katgod
Why not compare it to the already running Pratt and Whitney Pure Power which sounds very similar?
watersworm
"Greens" will hate RR (and other engines makers) reducing fuel consumption and therefore CO2 emissions... because they love to hate 2% evilish anthropogenic CO2 emissions airline industry, and think the future shell be a "no more planes" society.
Jim Shilliday
So the pilots will have a clutch pedal and stick shift!
habakak
@ watersworm: ...shell be...shall be.... Unless you are talking about a future with Royal Dutch Shell? There are no 'greens' in the world. Those are just myths. Last time I checked the worlds energy gets mostly produced by fossil fuels and EVERYTHING we consume uses fossil fuels to produce (not talking about transportation). Everybody excessively consumes fossil fuels. Eat a piece of bread. Fossil fuels. Drink water. Fossil fuels. There is no getting away from it. But it is changing.
KeithPhillips
I worked at RR a long time ago when the Trent engine was going through the same stages as this engine (minus a gearbox) RR are very thorough and will get this new gearbox spot on. As they only do things once and do it properly. Looking back in the history of RR if it wasn't for the Merlin engine we would not have won the battle of Britain. So pleased to see the standards are still maintained by RR. To me when sitting by the window of a large jet liner and looking out to see the emblem on the side of the engine cowling Manufactured by Rolls Royce gives me peace of mind that I am in good hands.
ljaques
Y'know, if the Greens of the world would start putting their money behind changes like this, far less money would be wasted and far more innovation would be introduced to the power stream, lessening fossil fuel use even more quickly. Stop rioting and start backing the changes. . Go RR! 25% sounds like a very large jump, but if you can do it safely and produce engines with long lives, great!