Tackling the environmental impact of aviation and power generation

Helping the Propulsion and Power Sectors Achieve Net Zero


The Whittle Laboratory's two largest Research Areas are in aerospace propulsion and land-based power generation. Across both areas, researchers are striving to help our industrial partners to achieve net zero by 2050. We also lead the way in developing new computational and experimental methods which provide the tools needed to tackle some of engineering's biggest challenges. In addition to propulsion and power research, we also have active groups working on how to make household appliances more energy efficient, and studying the fascinating aerodynamic problems encountered in sport.

Aeroengine & gas turbine technology

Research projects within the lab cover virtually all parts of the aeroengine and gas turbine. Currently we have projects on intakes and installations, fans, core compressors, HP/IP/LP turbines, secondary air systems, cooling flows and radial machines. Some examples of projects are shown here.

Low carbon power generation

Central to our research is the need to reduce emissions from propulsion and power applications, and as well as the work on increasing efficiencies of aeroengine and gas turbine technologies, work is also being undertaken on emerging low-Carbon technologies.

Computational fluid dynamics

The Whittle Laboratory has always been at the forefront of computational methods for turbomachinery flows. Work on massively-parallel GPU-enabled CFD has had a transformative impact; we are now able to produce fully 3D, time-accurate simulations of multi-stage machines within a matter of hours. We are also using high-fidelity high-order methods to perform direct-numerical-simulation (DNS) of turbomachinery flows.

Instrumentation and experimental methods

We develop much of our own measurement hardware and instrumentation. Pneumatic multi-hole probes are manufactured and calibrated within the lab and we have several calibration facilities for this purpose. Other instrumentation used are hotwire and hotfilm anemometry, as well as optical methods such as LDA, PIV and Schlieren.