The Department of Engineering Science recently hosted a visit from Dr Colin Smith, Director or Engineering and Technology at Rolls-Royce, to its Southwell Laboratory in Osney Mead, Oxford. Dr Smith had visited the building several years ago when it was first acquired by the Department and during his visit this time, he was able to see that it is now full of world class operational research facilities.

From left to right: Kam Chana, Commercial and Technical Director, Oxford Turbine Research Facility; Dr Marko Bacic, University Research Lecturer – Control Architecture Specialist Rolls-Royce; Professor Li He, Rolls-Royce/RAEng Professor of Computational Aerothermal Engineering, Oxford University; Professor Peter Ireland, Donald Schultz Professor of Turbomachinery, Oxford University; Rob Savidge Director of ES&S, Rolls-Royce; Dr Colin Smith, Director Engineering & Technology, Rolls-Royce; Dr Matt McGilvray, Senior Fellow in Hypersonics, Oxford University; Dr Stefan Friedrichs, Chief of Turbines Aerothermal, Rolls-Royce.

During the visit, Dr Smith and his colleagues, Rob Savidge and Stefan Friedrichs, reviewed highlights of the University Technology Centre’s research and toured the Laboratory’s facilities. The Department’s Thermo-Fluids Laboratory, houses some of the most sophisticated turbine and high speed flow facilities in the UK.

This major test facility was designed and built by the Department of Engineering Science for the MOD (DERA) then operated on the Pyestock and Farnborough sites for about twenty years. It is now owned by the University and is housed in the Southwell Building. It comprises one and a half stages of axial turbine. The piston tunnel achieves engine representative Reynolds number and Mach number during a flow pulse of about 0.5seconds. The rotor spins at 9500rpm and thin film gauge instrumentation enables heat transfer on the blades, vanes and end-walls to be measured.

Professor Peter Ireland said: “The Department is very proud of the research it undertakes with Rolls-Royce and it was a great pleasure to show Colin some of the highlights of this activity in our new facility”.