Purdue, Rolls-Royce Create $33M Program

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Rolls-Royce will move into a research and technology lab at the Purdue Aerospace District later this year. Rolls-Royce will move into a research and technology lab at the Purdue Aerospace District later this year.

Purdue University and Rolls-Royce in Indianapolis are coming together on a new jet-engine research and development program. The $33 million partnership aims to create next-generation aircraft propulsion systems.

Under the partnership, Rolls-Royce will designate Purdue as a University Technology Partner, which will include two research centers for advanced thermal management systems and advanced compressor systems. The university says the funding from Rolls-Royce will support research and technology in those areas, as well as turbine technology and analytical methods.

"It is a badge of pride for Purdue University to be selected by one of the world's truly great research and manufacturing companies for a partnership," said Purdue President Mitch Daniels. "There is no more fitting or prestigious first step for the university's Aerospace District, which we imagine is a big piece of Purdue's future." 

Dan Hirleman, chief corporate and global partnerships officer for Purdue, said the investment by Rolls-Royce will further support the university's Maurice J. Zucrow Laboratories, which is the nation's largest university-based propulsion laboratory. The laboratory received a $5 million grant in early 2015 from Lilly Endowment Inc. 

"This work will have an important impact on the industry," said Nicole Key, an associate professor of mechanical engineering. "We have a good team in place. We know we are impacting future engine designs and yet we are able to simultaneously investigate many fundamental questions into the science and engineering of propulsion."

Much of the work will be performed at the Purdue Aerospace District. Rolls-Royce is already committed to that area, having announced in 2015 it will move into a research and technology lab in the district's 40,000 square-foot facility, expected to be completed October 1. 

Rolls-Royce North America President of Defense Aerospace Phil Burkholder says the partnership helps the company keep up in the rapidly-changing industry.
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