U of I Aerospace Department joins Rolls-Royce, Gulfstream in supersonic technology development
Aerospace companies Rolls-Royce Deutschland and Gulfstream Aerospace, a subsidiary of General Dynamics, recently entered into an agreement with the University of Illinois Aerospace Engineering Department to conduct research relevant to the potential development of a supersonic business jet.
"Illinois is involved in research to mitigate the sonic boom from supersonic business jets," said Michael B. Bragg, Aerospace Engineering (AE) Professor and Associate Dean for Research and Administrative Affairs in the College of Engineering at Illinois. "This is the largest industrial research agreement for the Aerospace Engineering Department. While specific details of the agreement are commercially confidential, we have signed a five-year research agreement with funding for the first three years," Bragg said.
AE engineers involved in the research include Bragg, Assistant Prof. Joanna M. Austin, Associate Prof. Gregory Elliott, Associate Prof. Jonathan B. Freund, Prof. Eric Loth, and Department Head J. Craig Dutton, as well as a half-dozen or more graduate students. Bragg said the companies' investment will provide research funding that will support the faculty and students as well as provide for some special facilities to do computational and experimental work.
Illinois researchers will focus on the engine's intake and exhaust systems with a goal of reducing sonic boom and increasing propulsive efficiency. Joined by Loth, Bragg and Elliott will lead research on by-pass air that travels around the outside of the engine core. Loth will lead the inlet research, joined by Bragg, Elliott and Dutton. Austin and Freund will lead research on the acoustics of the exhaust system, joined by Elliott.
"Current Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations prohibit supersonic flight over land," said Bragg. "One of the prime objectives of this research is to show the FAA and environmentalists that the sound produced by a jet flying at supersonic speeds over land can be reduced to an acceptable level."
Rolls-Royce Deutschland supplies engines for aircraft built by Gulfstream, headquartered in Savannah, Georgia. Aerospace Engineering alumnus Preston Henne, BS 69, provided assistance in the companies reaching an agreement with the Department. Henne is Senior Vice President, Programs, Engineering and Test at Gulfstream.