Research on better materials for aircraft engines boosted by Worshipful Livery Company award

A Swansea University researcher, whose work is helping to develop safer and better materials for aircraft engines and other uses, has been awarded a travel scholarship by the Worshipful Livery Company of Wales, to help fund him to present his research at a major international scientific conference.

Dr Jonathan Jones works at the Institute of Structural Materials at Swansea University.  He researches new ceramic materials which can potentially provide a better alternative to metals as components of machines such as gas turbine engines.  These include aircraft engines, and Jonathan works closely with the manufacturer Rolls-Royce. 

400 x 456Jonathan’s research has now been given a boost by the Worshipful Livery Company of Wales, which has awarded him a travel scholarship of £1000, following a competition open to Swansea University researchers who are in the early stages of their career.

The Company is “The Honourable Society for the Arts, Science and Technology”, and one of its aims is to “promote education, science, technology and the arts”.

About the Company

The funding enabled Jonathan to take part in a major international conference in Canada, which brings together the world’s leading researchers in this field.  

Jonathan was able to attend the conference in conjunction with a visit to collaborators at the Rolls-Royce base in the US.

Picture:  an image from the new testing rig designed by Jonathan, which allows materials' performance at high temperatures to be assessed more accurately

In the course of his research, Jonathan developed a new rig for testing materials, which allows their performance under high temperatures to be assessed more accurately.  This is crucial for judging whether a new material is safe for use in engines.

Jonathan Jones, award winner, and materials researcher at Swansea University, said:

“Advanced high temperature Ceramic Matrix Composite (CMC) materials have the potential to revolutionise the modern gas turbine engine, allowing dramatic weight savings compared to current nickel based superalloys in use today.

The significant reduction in weight, coupled with the high temperature capability of ceramic materials, will enhance the performance and efficiency of the engines, ultimately saving cost and valuable fossil fuels.

The newly developed thermography controlled thermo-mechanical fatigue testing capability in the ISM allows the performance of these complex non-metallic materials to be understood whilst closely simulating the representative in-service conditions seen within the gas turbine.

I am extremely grateful for the travel award from the Worshipful Livery Company of Wales as it has enabled this facility to be recognised internationally and has helped to forge stronger links between Swansea University and senior technologists based at Rolls-Royce, Indianapolis, USA."

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‌Picture:  Jonathan Jones in his laboratory at Swansea University’s Institute for Structural Materials, receiving his award from Jenny Aubrey and Bob Clarke of the Worshipful Livery Company of Wales.

Jenny Aubrey from the Worshipful Livery Company of Wales said:

“The aim is to encourage and support students to progress with a specific project.  The Worshipful Livery Company of Wales raises the grant money through holding dinners, concerts and other charitable events.

Jonathan’s research is essential, and his enthusiasm for his subject is clear.  We are pleased to be able to support his attendance at this international scientific conference”

Find out more about the College of Engineering at Swansea University

Worshipful Livery Company of Wales