Rolls-Royce LibertyWorks has completed rig testing on a new core design for a small engine, successfully executing a rapid prototyping plan from design to test in under a year.
The prototype engine core was designed for limited-life applications with a key focus on low cost. The LibertyWorks team took an innovative approach to reducing cost at the component level and demonstrated the ability to reduce part count by utilizing 21st century technologies such as additive layer manufacturing.
John Kusnierek, Rolls-Royce LibertyWorks, Senior Vice President, Research & Technology, said, “These successful engine tests demonstrate the importance of an adaptable and scalable approach to small engines, allowing for cost reduction across multiple engine solutions. This approach was implemented in the small engine demonstrator and allows for rapid future growth of that core. Successful testing provides a foundation for future small engine demonstrators targeted at meeting the unique challenges of the limited life propulsion market.”
LibertyWorks also evaluated and identified areas where non-traditional materials could be substituted to achieve lower component costs, while still meeting requirements. LibertyWorks engaged an all-U.S. supply chain as well as small businesses to source the engine components.
The small engine demonstration also serves as a tool to baseline analytical tools and models, which will allow for shortened design time on future small engine solutions. The core engine hardware has been tested and can now be utilized to demonstrate future technology insertions that deliver additional cost reductions, performance improvements, or new capabilities.
LibertyWorks is an advanced technology and research organization based at Rolls-Royce in Indianapolis, US. LibertyWorks develops technology for the Department of Defense, NASA, DARPA, and other government entities, as well as the major U.S. airframe companies.