Thermo-Fluid Mechanics Research Centre, University of Surrey

UNIVERSITY OF SUSSEX, 10th November, 1987.

The Centre, completed in 1978, is staffed, full-time, by six post graduate Research Fellows and five technicians; also the research and consultancy activities of five post doctoral Fellows, including the manager Dr. A.B. Turner, are concentrated there. Funding, currently over £250,000 p.a., is from S.E.R.C. and a number of industrial companies working in the gas turbine field.

In an introductory talk we heard that, in the aircraft gas turbine field, military aviation sought increased power at great height while the emphasis on the civil side is towards improved efficiency and reduction in noise levels. Solutions ultimately accepted by designers are often determined by economic (e.g. price of oil) and political (e.g. balance of payments) considerations.

A major area of research at the centre is heat transfer between components subject to very high temperatures and the cooling medium; the complex flow patterns which influence this are also studied in depth.

A model for introducing the effects of surface roughness has recently been produced for Rolls Royce . An investigation of the apparent de-icing capability of the Pegasus engine, and the application of current heat transfer research to the development of HOTOL and the American space shuttle were also mentioned. At the other end of the scale the laboratory is collaborating with a Japanese organisation in the design of a 25 kw gas turbine for unit C.H.P. application.

We toured the four principal test cells. Here each of the researchers described his work and the apparatus in use. We were impressed by the enthusiasm of the staff and their readiness to deal with our questions. The 23 members who took part spent an instructive and enjoyable afternoon.