Rolls-Royce says its Advance3 engine is helping pioneer the future of civil aerospace – with 3D-printed parts and the introduction of new materials.

The technology demonstrator engine, which incorporates around 20,000 parts in total, has achieved more than 100 hours on test. Rolls-Royce says initial results from parts made by additive layer manufacturing (ALM) – commonly known as 3D printing – and from ceramic matrix composites (CMCs) are showing “excellent performance”.

ALM allows engineers to create new designs for parts, and for those parts to be made and redesigned more quickly. CMCs last longer in high temperatures and are lighter than metal alternatives.

A new engine core

The Advance3 demonstrator is testing a new engine core that aims to deliver optimum fuel efficiency and low emissions. It is a key element in Rolls-Royce’s future technology strategy to develop the Advance core for the UltraFan engine design that will be available from 2025. For that engine, Rolls-Royce is targeting a 25% improvement in fuel efficiency compared with a first- generation Trent engine.

On the demonstrator, the new core operates between a Trent XWB fan system and a Trent 1000 low-pressure turbine, and its compressor system helps to deliver an UltraFan overall pressure ratio of up to 70:1.

Engineers have downloaded millions of data points from the tests, which began last November and saw the engine achieve full power in July. Advance3 plays an important part in delivering the IntelligentEngine, Rolls-Royce’s vision for the future.

Watch our video interview with Rolls-Royce’s Richard Goodhead about the IntelligentEngine concept.

“We like what we see”

Ash Owen, Rolls-Royce, Chief Engineer, Civil Aerospace Demonstrator Programmes, said: “Testing so far has been completely seamless, which is an outstanding achievement when you realise that this is an engine incorporating a range of new technologies as well as a brand-new core architecture. We have completed our first phase of testing and analysing the results right now. We like what we see from the CMC and ALM parts performance. ”

The Advance3 demonstrator programme is co-funded through the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) in association with Innovate UK and Clean Sky 2.

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