University of Birmingham research team honored by Royal Aeronautical Society

Paul Bowen and Mark Jefferies_720
Professor Paul Bowen (left) with Mark Jefferies, Chief of University Research Liaison for the Rolls-Royce Group

Materials University Technology Center (UTC) at the University of Birmingham has been awarded the Royal Aeronautical Society’s Team Silver Medal for their research collaboration with Rolls-Royce Group plc.

Led by Paul Bowen, Professor of Metallurgy at the University of Birmingham, UTC has been collaborating with Rolls-Royce since 2009. Key results have focused on the nickel-based superalloys used in applications such as turbine blades in aircraft engines. In particular, the team has worked to understand the mechanisms of cracks during high temperatures and the consequences of this behavior for flight safety.

This improved understanding has led to these materials being safely introduced in aircraft components, where they significantly improved efficiency.

Professor Bowen said: “The success of the partnership between our Materials University Technology Center and Rolls-Royce has really been down to productive teamwork and excellent collaboration, and we are delighted to see this recognized by the Royal Aeronautical Society.”

The team medals are among a list of awards and medals awarded each year by RAeS for achievement and innovation in aerospace, aerospace and space. Announcing the 2021 winners,

Howard New FRAeS, President of the Royal Aeronautical Society said: “This year’s list of award winners demonstrates the enormous amount of innovation that is happening across the aerospace, aerospace and aerospace industries. We are on the brink of a new era in flight with the enormous growth and potential in space and the vital decarbonisation of the entire space sector.Many of our award winners shape these futures and contribute to the mission of our society.

“The leaders we celebrate today are a diverse cross-section from and represent every corner of our industries. Our winners work in manufacturing, engineering, materials, aerodynamics, defense, aviation operations, aerospace, government administration and more. We celebrate the unique contribution from each of these award winners who have dedicated their working lives to this most vital industry, and we congratulate them on their incredible achievements. “

Professor Bowen has collaborated with Rolls-Royce since 1987, led UTC since 2001, and has strengthened the partnership with the strategic input of Mark Jefferies, Chief of University Research Liaison for Rolls-Royce Group, since 2009.

Although there have been technical and scientific inputs over the years from a myriad of PhD / EngD students and professional researchers at both organizations, key contributors to the specific results are recognized by RAeS: Hang-Yue Li (detailed and new crack growth experiments) and Hiroto Kitaguchi ( detailed microstructural characterization), both in Birmingham; and in collaboration with Mark Hardy (development and optimization of the proprietary powder-based alloys RR1000 and RR1073), Steve Williams (predictable lifetime methods) and Simon Bray (optimization of inertial welds) all at Rolls-Royce. Materials UTC in Birmingham (established in 1992) remains a cornerstone of the company’s interaction with universities around the world.

Notes to editors

  • For media inquiries, please contact Beck Lockwood, Press Office, University of Birmingham, tel .: +44 (0) 781 3343348 or the Royal Aeronautical Society, tel .: +44 (0) 207 670 4362
  • Image: Paul Bowen, Professor of Metallurgy at the University of Birmingham (left), with Mark Jefferies, Chief of University Research Liaison for the Rolls-Royce Group.
  • The University of Birmingham is ranked among the world’s 100 best institutions. Its work brings people from all over the world to Birmingham, including researchers, teachers and more than 6,500 international students from over 150 countries.
  • The Royal Aeronautical Society has honored outstanding achievements in the global aerospace industry since 1909, when Wilbur and Orville Wright came to London to receive the company’s first gold medal. Over the years, it has become an annual tradition to honor aviation performance in this way. The Society’s Awards Program recognizes and pays tribute to individuals and teams who have made a unique contribution to aerospace, whether for outstanding achievement, great technical innovation, exceptional leadership, or for work that will further promote aerospace.

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