Aerospace and transport

Our work seeks to reduce operating costs, fuel consumption and environmental impacts and improve performance.

Close-up of aeroplane landing gear

We aim to achieve this through the development of active flow control, noise reduction and autonomous technologies, health monitoring, through-life system optimisation solutions, model-based systems engineering, multidisciplinary modelling and control.

Case studies

TRANSIT: A new airport system to save time, money and carbon emissions

With increasing global demand for air travel and overloaded airport facilities, the inefficient movement of aeroplanes - or airport taxiing operations - is identified as a major contributor to unnecessary fuel burn and a substantial source of pollution.

TRANSIT (Towards a Robust Airport Decision Support for Intelligent Taxiing) is a research project that has the potential to increase airport capacity, while reducing the environmental impact of the growing aviation sector. A £1 million UKEPSRC sponsored research grant to develop a pioneering new aircraft routing and scheduling system, that could see operations increase by 50% at some of the world’s busiest airports, has been secured by aviation engineering specialists.

TRANSIT will see researchers and industry experts working together for three years to develop a new on-the-ground system that will reduce aeroplane taxi times, operating costs and environmental impact at airports around the world.

A new design methodology for civil aero-engine control

Civil aero-engine dynamics vary with flight and power conditions, and a lengthy design and verification process is required to meet the specification for all conditions.

ACSE researchers have developed a unified design methodology for tuning gas turbine engine controllers, which is now being used by Rolls-Royce across its latest fleet of Civil Aero Trent engines. Trent engines are used to power, for example, Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft that have been adopted by the world’s leading airlines.

This research was carried out at the Rolls Royce University Technology Centre (UTC). During the course of the research programme within the UTC, besides demonstrating the enormous practical advantages of this new design, difficult tuning and architectural problems were overcome by the introduction of a number of practical innovations.

This new design methodology has made an economic impact through the introduction of a new process for tuning gas turbine engine controllers. Indicators of impact are:

  • a new design practice, resulting in a unified approach for different projects,
  • reduced development effort by shortening and simplifying the design exercise and rendering it suitable for modular insertion, and
  • streamlined verification requirements.

Over 20 customers have selected the Trent 1000 to power their 787 Dreamliners and these include All Nippon Airways, Air China, Air Europa, Air New Zealand, British Airways, Delta, Icelandair, International Lease Finance Corporation, LOT, Thai Airways and Virgin Atlantic.

Flagship institutes

The University’s four flagship institutes bring together our key strengths to tackle global issues, turning interdisciplinary and translational research into real-world solutions.