Flying high with Rolls-Royce

We found participating in the ITT to be an unique and engaging environment for exchanging ideas and it was also good fun. Above all it produced some truly innovative thinking. Despite the subsequent financial challenges facing the airline industry, we have continued a fruitful engagement with Bath and SAMBa. The learning and insight we have gained about novel approaches which can be used to find solutions to our problems has already proved valuable and we look forward to learning more, and developing long-term partnerships, as the collaboration continues.

Dr Rory Clarkson (MBE, FIMechE),
Associate Fellow – Engine Environmental Protection
Rolls-Royce Civil Aerospace


Following a presentation at an EPSRC networking event, Rolls-Royce approached SAMBa with the goal of joining an ITT. Initially the met with academics across the department, and participated in some SAMBa events, such as the summer conference, to get a sense of the breadth of research and opportunities.

Rolls-Royce participated in ITT12 in September 2020. This was a fully online experience due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Challenges brought included mapping complete aviation routes, and using data collected from long flights to understand engine performance changes. This encompassed physical difficulties such as ice crystal build up on engines, and dust and ash contamination into the machinery.

Building on the ITT interaction, a SAMBa Interdisciplinary Research Project (IRP) exploring the modelling of ice crystal build up ran during the academic year 2020/21. IRPs bring together a small number of SAMBa first years, working in collaboration with academics and external partners to develop early stage research ideas. The IRP led to a PhD project for Timothy Peters, one of the SAMBa PhD students involved, co-supervised by an academic in Mechanical Engineering. A reading course, which involved SAMBa PhDs from across all years as well as academic staff, also took place. This delved into the detail of managing flight paths through ash clouds and has led to an ongoing collaboration with Rolls-Royce and branching out into the areas of aerosols, which involves the Physics department at Bath.

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