Combining computational and experimental methods is crucial to the way we perform research. High fidelity computational simulations are being performed using massively parallel computing, and GPU enable high performance computing. Our experimental facilities include (among many others): 3 multi-stage rotating machines; 3 transonic/supersonic high-speed flow rigs; 13 rotating facilities; and numerous small-scale rigs, wind-tunnels and cascades. As with the computational simulations, experiments incorporate more ‘engine-realistic’ geometries, including fully 3D geometries and hub and shroud leakage paths. Our manufacturing capabilities (including rapid-prototyping and multi-axis computer controlled machining) allow us to design, build and test complex geometries in-house.
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.
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.
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.
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.