GKN Aerospace, a Rolls-Royce Core Partner in Clean Sky 2, has reported the successful testing of the UltraFan technology demonstrator incorporating the GKN-designed and manufactured Intermediate Compressor Case (ICC). The system was tested at full power at the Rolls-Royce facility in Derby, UK, with the initial phase of the test using 100% sustainable aviation fuel, underscoring a commitment to sustainable aviation practices.

Clean Sky 2 is a European aeronautics research programme deaero industrydicated to pioneering technologies aimed at reducing CO2 emissions and aircraft noise levels. Funded by the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme and Europe’s aviation industry, Clean Sky 2 aims to foster collaboration, global leadership, and enhanced competitiveness within the European aero industry.

The ICC is a critical structure between compressor modules and plays a vital role in carrying rotor loads to the engine casing and thrust mounts. GKN Aerospace’s developmental efforts encompass pioneering technologies – notably a low-cost, robust sectorised fabrication concept integrating castings. This process includes an advanced welding method based on precise computer simulations, optimised aerodynamics and acoustics for bleed system efficiency, a streamlined high curvature duct design, Additive Manufacturing of attaching parts, and model-based design methods.

Henrik Runnemalm, Vice President of GKN Aerospace’s Global Technology Centre in Sweden, shared, “The successful ground testing of the UltraFan engine signifies a significant milestone for our ICC. It underscores the success of the Clean Sky 2 collaboration and showcases our incorporation of cutting-edge sustainable technologies, such as additive fabrication, in ICC development. We take immense pride in partnering with the Rolls-Royce team to contribute to this energy-efficient aero-engine of the future.”

GKN Aerospace has received substantial support in Sweden for developing innovative manufacturing processes for the ICC. This support comes from the Vinnova-funded IntDemo-project and the Västra Götaland Region.

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