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Post nubes lux: Aerospace propulsion ("after darkness light")

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Professor Riti Singh considers the confluence of the growth of civil aviation and the need to limit its impact on climate change is set to bring this industry to its tryst with destiny.

The anticipated large improvements in propulsion systems, airframes and operations are likely to be offset by market growth, not least by increasing demands from the BRIC economies.

His presentation will focus on propulsion system developments within civil aviation. A drive to improve thermal and propulsive efficiencies still promises significant improvements. Bio-mix “drop-in” fuels are likely in the next 20 years and offer further improvements. In the longer term, we are likely to see a shift to distributed propulsion to further improve both propulsive efficiency and air frame performance. This may result in a few very high efficiency generators, to drive a large number of small electrically-driven fans.

Such a scenario opens up the possibility of significant advances by the ability to have “clean air frames”. In the long term, the growth of civil aviation may have to be curtailed, in spite of growing market demand. A way forward could be the combination of hydrogen and other technologies, including the intriguing possibility of an aircraft being able to produce global warming or cooling at will, perhaps allowing mankind to control the earth’s temperature by the use of civil aviation.

Riti Singh is Professor Emeritus of Cranfield University. He leads the Gas Turbine Engineering & Technology Group within the Department of Power and Propulsion and is Director of the Rolls-Royce University Technology Centre in Performance Engineering. Professor Singh has given many plenary/keynote speeches. He holds numerous patents, and has published widely. His research has been strongly supported by industry, the European Union and EPSRC .

He has an interest in novel cycles for power and propulsion, particularly in the context of the environment. Professor Singh was awarded the ASME International Gas Turbine Institute’s Annual International Aircraft Engine Technology Award for 2010, presented to one individual each year for sustained, innovative personal contribution to the field. Other recent awards include the ASME IGTI (2004) “Cycles Innovations Committee Best Paper Award”, the Royal Aeronautical Society’s Silver Award (2006), the Ackroyd Stuart Prize, and the ASME IGTI (2010), “Cycles Innovations Committee Best Paper Award”. He is a Board member of the Aerospace Industries Board, Institution of Mechanical Engineers and the International Society of Air Breathing Engines (ISABE).

Professor Singh has consulted for over 40 organizations, including gas turbine manufacturers and users in over 20 countries.

The talk will start at 18:00. Refreshments will be served from 17:15. Those travelling from Cambridge are invited to contact to share lifts.

This talk is part of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (Cambridgeshire Area) series.

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