Analysis of residual stress in aero engine fan blades

Impact: Technological impacts, Economic impacts

Narrative

Wide Chord Fan Blades provide a key competitive advantage for Rolls-Royce’s £8.6bn aero-engine business employing 1500 staff. In service, blades experience massive loads and high-frequency vibration, creating the potential for failure. In response to blade-off events on the Trent™ 800 engine, Rolls-Royce (RR) urgently needed a means of inhibiting fatigue crack growth, and selected laser shock peening (LSP). Research in the UoA, elucidating the mechanism and outcomes of LSP, provided critical scientific underpinning for its introduction into the production process for the Trent™ 800 and, subsequently, other engines. Further the UoA now provides manufacturing process QA. Orders for the new Trent™ XWB engine, relying on LSP, exceed £60bn, with partners The Metal Improvement Company establishing dedicated LSP treatment facilities for RR in the UK (with 30 employees) and Singapore.

Category of impact

  • Technological impacts
  • Economic impacts

Related information

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