Skip to main content

Oxford Thermofluids Institute | Research - Research Themes: Energy and the Environment

Energy & the Environment

You might recall the 2010 Icelandic volcanic eruption of Eyjafjallajökull, which grounded planes all over Northern Europe. This was due to the danger to aircraft engines from particles in the atmosphere. Particles such as ice crystals, sand, volcanic ash and salt 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 and causing a variety of detrimental effects. These problems can cause significant damage and include reduced flow rates in the main flow path, erosion of component surface, reduced cooling flow rates which can reduce life of components and corrosive attacks leading to cracking of components. At the OTI particulate research focuses on understanding and modelling the behaviour of deposition processes. We use a combined experimental and numerical approach to investigate the complex physics involved. The lab is also actively engaged in research around nuclear fusion power generation.