Cornerstone Prosperity Partnership advances UK aerospace

Posted on 3 May, 2023 by Advance 

Cornerstone Prosperity Partnership - a multi-million-pound partnership which brought academia and industry together to instigate innovation and mechanical excellence in the aerospace sector - has come to an end after making multiple advances in technologies.

The Partnership was celebrated at the University of Nottingham on 26th April, with more than 130 people in attendance.

© University of Nottingham

The Cornerstone Prosperity Partnership, led by the University of Nottingham alongside industry partner Rolls-Royce and academic partners University of Oxford and Imperial College London, was awarded £13.5 million in funding by the EPSRC and partners in 2017 to advance six key areas of mechanical engineering science. Since then, Queen’s University Belfast has also joined the partnership due to its expertise in structural behaviour.

The partnership advanced mechanical engineering science, bringing low carbon aircraft propulsion closer to reality, and supported the exploration of new designs that improve efficiency, reduce noise pollution, and lower gas turbine engine weight, through work in the following areas:

•    High power-density contacts
•    Impact and intelligent failure management
•    Advanced static and dynamic load management
•    Exploiting aero-structural interactions
•    Innovations in thermal management
•    Electro-mechanical interactions
•    Influence of platform behaviour on sub-system design

Professor Seamus Garvey, Principal Investigator of the Cornerstone Prosperity Partnership at the University of Nottingham, said: “The Cornerstone Prosperity Partnership has proven itself to be highly effective, allowing industry and academia to collaborate more closely in a way that otherwise wouldn’t have been possible. Being involved in this partnership has been a remarkably fulfilling experience and the collaboration between partners has been fantastic.

“All of the institutions involved are leading experts in their respective fields but, by bringing them together, we’ve been able to identify and nurture new ideas and research areas. The administrative aspects have been proportional, and the technical discoveries and innovations have been both very satisfying and valuable to Rolls-Royce.”

The partnership has resulted in the creation of a world-first simultaneous measurement of gas and liquid interfacial turbulence, which is vital for the understanding of oil flows in aerospace applications and allows designers to make the system even more efficient.  It’s also produced new single winding arrangements for electrical motors that release design constraints, allowing aeroengines to be smaller and, therefore, greener, and more efficient. Additionally, a new test facility was opened enabling complex engine vibration behaviour to be measured, which helps develop new approaches for engine safety.

Dr Sophoclis Patsias, Senior Partnership Manager at Rolls-Royce, said “It has been a privilege to play a leading role in the programme, bringing together this diverse and talented group who have delivered exceptional research that has a direct benefit both to Rolls-Royce and to the wider community.”

Professor Mark Jefferies, Chief of University Research Liaison, said: “The partnership has underpinned our engagement with leading universities. I have been particularly impressed by how it has also helped us develop the next generation of highly skilled researchers in the UK and I look forward to the next phase of the partnership.”

The conclusion of the Cornerstone Prosperity Partnership was celebrated at the University of Nottingham on 26 April, with more than 130 representatives from across Europe in attendance. The partnership now evolves into a new phase as “The Mechanical Excellence Partnership”.

A range of new projects and proposals are in the pipeline, and many have already been secured, including HEAVEN, part of Clean Aviation, which will utilise integrated research to improve the efficiency of gas turbines further by taking advance of net zero carbon fuels, such as hydrogen, to improve efficiency and reduce energy wastage.

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