Course information

The MRes course

The MRes in Gas Turbine Aerodynamics, which provides a springboard to the PhD phase of the CDT at one of the three partner universities. 

MRes course diagram

Part 1 - Modules

During Part 1 of the MRes (October-December) students undertake a combination of core and elective modules. The modules give students a world-leading background in the theory of gas turbine aerodynamics as well as practical aspects of both experimental and computational research.

Core modules

Foundation concepts (Introductory course) 
Syllabus includes: types of turbomachine; governing equations; fluid properties; performance metrics; compressible flow; non-dimensional analysis of turbomachinery.

Advanced gas turbine aerodynamics (Flagship MRes course in advanced aerodynamic concepts) 
Syllabus includes: combustor aerodynamics; compressor stability; heat transfer and cooling concepts; loss mechanisms in turbomachines; three-dimensional flows and three-dimensional blade design concepts; transonic axial flow fan design.

Turbomachinery aerodynamic design process (Fundamentals, and hands-on experience, of computational methods for blade design) 
Syllabus includes: hierarchy of numerical methods: mean-line; throughflow; blade profile design; three-dimensional single row; multi-stage steady; multi-stage unsteady.

Experimental methods (Practical course in experimental fluid dynamics) 
Syllabus includes: uncertainty and error; data acquisition; pressure measurement; aerodynamic probes; thermal anemometry; laser anemometry; signal conditioning and processing.

Researcher skills (Non-technical skills needed for successful research) 
Syllabus includes: planning research projects; time management; technical writing; presentation skills.

Elective modules

Students choose two modules from those on offer by the Department of Engineering at the University of Cambridge. Students who have not already done so will be encouraged to select: 4A2 - Computational fluid dynamics; and 4A3 - Turbomachinery.  

Seminar Series 1 – Advanced Methods

The MRes course includes two Seminar Series. In the first term (Oct-Dec), there is a seminars focus on state-of-the-art methods for both computational and experimental design and research in gas turbines. These seminars are designed to enhance and complement the content of the modules, but are non-examinable.

Part 2 - Projects

In Part 2 of the MRes (January-April), students experience working in the research laboratories of each of the three participating universities and also in industry. The Mini-Projects at Cambridge, Loughborough and Oxford focus on compressor, combustor and turbine aerodynamics respectively; the industry courses look at the challenges of integrating these, and other, components together into a successful machine.

University Projects

Mini Project 1 - Loughborough

This project begins with an introduction to the major research challenges in combustion aerodynamics, followed by two weeks in which students can gain hands-on experience of the key computational and experimental techniques being used to answer these questions. Students use Loughborough's fully isothermal annular compressor-combustor interaction rig, as well as investigating vortex shedding using state-of-the-art experimental equipment. The final part of the project gives the students a solid grounding in technical computing, and involves building a small Linux cluster and developing a parallel code to run on it.

Mini Project 2 - Cambridge

his project uses a rotating compressor rig to introduce performance assessment measurements and a real-world aerodymanic design challenges. After the initial part of the project, the work becomes more open-ended as students work in teams to design a fairing to minimise the effect on performance of an upstream strut. This is a common problem in aero-engine design, where other considerations (e.g. structural, delivery of hydraulic fluid) may have to take precedence over aerodynamic design.

The Whittle Lab's 3D printer are used to print prototype fairings, which are then tested in the compressor.

Mini Project 3 - Oxford

This project, on turbine aerodynamics and heat transfer is divided into two parts.
In the first part, measurements and computational analysis of combustor-turbine interaction facility are used to demonstrate advanced data acquisition and processing strategies on a challenging turbine problem. In the second part, a large scale model of the internal flow path of the cooling flow in a turbine blade is used to generate optimised rib turbulator configurations. This gives students an opportunity to learn about the trade-off between aerodynamic performance and efficient heat transfer, as well as the complementary use of CFD and experiments.

Industrial Projects

The aim of the industrial projects is to give students a broader perspective on their research, considering the integration of different gas turbine components as well as real-world design and operation issues.

Rolls-Royce Holistic Gas Turbine Course

The five-day Holistic Gas Turbine course covers a broad range of gas turbine theory at a balanced level of detail. The theory is applied in an engine design exercise that features hand-calculations on performance, aerodynamics and mechanics. The course gives a whole-engine understanding of how the gas turbine works and how it is designed. Theory and detail is added to basic gas turbine design in this Intermediate Holistic Gas Turbine five-day course. 

Siemens Hands-on Gas Turbine Training


Part 3 - Research Proposal Dissertation

For the final part of the MRes (May-September), students work with an individual supervisor, and a broader team of experts drawn from the CDT partners, to develop a detailed proposal for the PhD phase. During this part, the seminar series take a Systems Design perspective on gas turbine design.

PhD Phase

The MRes provides a springboard to the PhD phase of the CDT. Students register for a PhD at one of the three partner universities. Each university provides an internationally recognised environment for turbomachinery research but CDT students also benefit from the network of experts, and the portfolio of skills, that they have built up during the MRes phase. In addition, the full cohort is regularly reunited for CDT seminars and workshop events.

Apply to the CDT in Gas Turbine Aerodynamics

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