GKN Aerospace successfully tests new lightweight Turbine Rear Structure concept
- Innovative design and manufacturing of shorter and lighter Turbine Rear Structure will contribute to lower carbon emissions
- Testing of the full scale demonstrator in GKN Aerospace’s Swedish Global Technology Centre is a key milestone in validation of the concept
GKN Aerospace engineers in Trollhättan, Sweden, have successfully tested a new lightweight demonstrator of a Turbine Rear Structure (TRS) as part of the Clean Sky-2 Engines research Programme. The purpose of a TRS is to manage the flow from the engine’s low-pressure turbine and maximize the axial thrust. It is a key component in improving the efficiency of an aero-engine.
Innovative design and state-of-the-art manufacturing methods resulted in a shorter and lighter structure compared to a traditional TRS. This was achieved by using a novel metallic alloy with higher temperature capability, as well as both metal casting and 3D-printed technology. The optimized balance between aerodynamic performance, weight and mechanical properties demonstrates a significant (14%) weight reduction potential, contributing to lower carbon emissions of the engine.
The complex component was manufactured with laser-welded assembly methods and additive manufacturing technology at GKN Aerospace’s Global Technology Centre in Sweden. Collaboration partners include the regional manufacturing technology centre PTC/Innovatum, while aerodynamic validation took place at a unique test facility at Chalmers University, funded by Vinnova through the SE NFFP programme. Brogren Industries (SME), also funded by Vinnova in the national SE Innovair programme INTDEMO MOTOR, provided supporting activities.
Henrik Runnemalm, Vice President for GKN Aerospace’s Global Technology Centre in Trollhättan, Sweden, said: “At GKN Aerospace we put a sustainable future of aviation at the heart of our business and collaboration in the aerospace eco-systems is key to achieve this. The new TRS demonstrator is a great example of how National, Regional, EU and industry-funded activities are coordinated towards final validation of an innovative concept that will contribute to our NetZero journey.”
GKN Aerospace is the world’s leading multi-technology tier 1 aerospace supplier. As a global company serving the world’s leading aircraft and aero-engine manufacturers, GKN Aerospace develops, builds and supplies an extensive range of advanced aerospace systems, components and technologies– for use in aircraft ranging from helicopters and fifth generation fighter jets to the most used business jets, single-aisle aircraft and wide-body planes in the world. Lightweight composites, additive manufacturing, innovative reliable engine systems and smart transparencies help to reduce emissions and weight on the aircraft and enhance passenger comfort. GKN Aerospace is market leading in aerostructures, engine systems, transparencies and wiring systems and operates in 12 countries at 39 manufacturing locations employing approximately 15,000 people.
GKN Aerospace in Sweden has a long history as a design partner for aero-engines. The company is a centre of excellence for the development of advanced technologies and for smart manufacturing of a wide range of aero-engine products and systems. This includes ensuring safety, availability, reliability and cost-effectiveness for Sweden’s and several other nation’s defense. GKN Aerospace holds the type certificate for the RM12 engine in the JAS 39 Gripen C/D aircraft and has recently been selected as the supplier for product support for the RM16 engine in JAS 39 Gripen E fighter.
GKN Aerospace in Sweden also has a proven track-record in designing and manufacturing products for the space industry and is a specialist in cooled nozzle extensions and turbines for the Ariane 5 and Ariane 6 space launcher programmes. GKN Aerospace operates in Trollhättan, Sweden employing approximately 1,700 people.