Particles such as ice crystals, sand, volcanic ash and salt entrained in the atmosphere can enter the core of aero-engines and power generation gas turbines. On civil engines, most particulates are spun out, however, small particles can make their way through the engine, eventually depositing causing a variety of detrimental effects including: reduced flow rates in the main flow path; erosion of component surface; reduced cooling flow rates which can reduce life of components; corrosive attacks leading to cracking of components; cause significant damage and possibly stall if large accretions are shed.

Indicative world map showing atmospheric particulates

With the steady growth of the number of flights in south-east Asia, the Middle East and South America where atmospheric particulates are likely to be encountered this is becoming a larger issue for the aero industry. To understand and model the behavior of deposition process, the group is using a combined experimental and numerical approach to investigate the complex physics involved.