. 24/7 Space News .

Subscribe to our free daily newsletters

NASA grant pilots course to hybrid-powered aircraft
by Erin Cassidy Hendrick for PSU News
University Park PA (SPX) Feb 01, 2021

N3-X Hybrid Wing Body Turboelectric Plane Concept

Leading a diverse, collaborative coalition that spans universities, industry and disciplines, Penn State has been awarded $8 million from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to chart the course for hybrid electric aircraft.

"This is a bold project that will explore the possibility of a safe, efficient and innovative path to reduce the fuel consumption and lower the carbon footprint of the aviation industry," said Karen Thole, distinguished professor, mechanical engineering department head and the principal investigator.

The four-year project will focus on single and twin-aisle aircraft that carry 100 passengers or more, which the researchers say are well suited for hybrid propulsion.

However, it is not as simple as integrating a battery into a traditional, gas-powered propulsion system, according to Thole. The team will seek to reimagine the entire system, optimizing and re-designing the core of the gas turbine engine.

"With our collaborators, we will use all the knowledge surrounding these hybrid systems and find new ways to operate them with increased efficiency," said Reid Berdanier, assistant research professor in mechanical engineering.

According to the researchers, Penn State, with its historic strengths in gas turbines, is pioneering the development and testing of concepts for small engine cores that are efficient and integrate well into the hybrid system. They will be using emerging technologies such as additive manufacturing, machine learning and cyber-physical modeling to forge these new frontiers in hybrid propulsion.

"The goal is to shrink the engine as much as possible," Thole said. "In doing so, this brings up other technical issues, including how to manufacture the parts and how to improve efficiencies."

Amrita Basak, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, explained using metal additive manufacturing (AM), commonly referred to as metal 3D printing, will be an enabling technology to reduce the size of the engine core.

"This could push the boundary of AM," she said. "Optimizing part precision, surface roughness and conformity on such a small scale could change the way we 3D print metallic parts."

Thole explained that by leveraging the National Experimental Turbine (NExT) program in the Steady Thermal Aero Research Turbine (START) Laboratory, the AM capabilities at the Center for Innovative Materials Processing Through Direct Digital Deposition (CIMP-3D) and the resources of the Materials Research Institute, Penn State is uniquely positioned to lead this project.

She also noted the guidance offered by the University's Strategic Interdisciplinary Research Office in the Office of the Senior Vice President for Research significantly contributed to the proposal's success.

"The broad coalition of partners dedicated to the hybrid electric airplane project has enormous potential to develop advances and engage in innovation and discovery to bring transformational change to the field," said Lora Weiss, senior vice president for research. "We were pleased to support the development of their proposal and the assembly of the strong interdisciplinary research team and are excited that it will result in foundational knowledge for NASA and society at large."

Other key facets will include integrating machine learning and cyber-physical models, spearheaded by Michaela Amoo and Ahmed Rubaai from Howard University, and systems level architecture, led by Georgia Tech's Timothy Lieuwen and Brian German.

NASA's funding was provided by the agency's University Leadership Initiative, which was created to empower universities to collaborate to pioneer technologies with significant impacts on aeronautics and aviation. This project represents the first female-led team funded by the initiative.

"This is a proud moment for us," Thole said. "I'm honored to be a part of such a talented and diverse team. These unique minds and experiences are absolutely going to strengthen the project. Our team is also committed to educating a diverse group of students who will impact the future of aviation through unique research opportunities."

In addition to solidifying collaborations between the universities, the project will draw upon valuable insights from their industry partners: Pratt and Whitney, a world leader in designing and manufacturing aircraft and helicopter engines and auxiliary power units, and CVD MesoScribe will use a novel approach to deposit sensors on the additively manufactured gas turbine components.

"With the aviation market estimated to grow at around 4.5%, our industry's contribution to global CO2 will need to decrease so the aerospace industry's commitment to sustainability has never been stronger," said Sean Bradshaw, technical fellow in sustainable propulsion at Pratt and Whitney. "A strong research collaboration between academia and industry is vital and the fundamental insights generated from this important research will augment current efforts by the aviation industry to become more sustainable."

Related Links
Penn State
Aerospace News at SpaceMart.com

Thanks for being there;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5+ Billed Monthly

paypal only
SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once

credit card or paypal

Cathay Pacific shares plunge as bond sale announced to stem cash crisis
Hong Kong (AFP) Jan 28, 2021
Shares in Hong Kong's marquee carrier Cathay Pacific plunged on Thursday after the struggling airline unveiled a HK$6.7 billion (US$870 million) bond sale to try to stem its rampant cash burn. The firm's stock tumbled 9.7 percent as the market closed in Hong Kong, days after it warned new quarantine measures planned for passenger and cargo crew arriving in Hong Kong would further dent its finances. Cathay Pacific on Thursday said it would offer five-year bonds maturing in February 2026 that coul ... read more

Comment using your Disqus, Facebook, Google or Twitter login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

NASA and Boeing target new launch date for next Starliner flight test

Showtime for ColKa

NASA may limit its presence in Russia over shrinking cooperation on ISS

Bridenstine leaves NASA, calls for unity in space, science efforts

Virgin Orbit to launch first satellite for Dutch Ministry Of Defense

China's first liquid/solid fueld rocket to make 2021 maiden flight

SpaceX rocket deploys record-setting cargo

Framework agreement facilitates future slot bookings by ESA

Six things to know about NASA's Mars helicopter on its way to Mars

Crater study offers window on temperatures 3.5 billion years ago

New Mars rover may collect first sounds recorded on another planet

Mystery of Martian glaciers revealed

China's space station core module, cargo craft pass factory review

China's space tracking ship completes satellite launch monitoring

Key modules for China's next space station ready for launch

Major space station components cleared for operations

China launches new mobile telecommunication satellite

Astronauts to boost European connectivity

Statement on Satellite Constellations by German Astronomical Society

OneWeb secures investment from Softbank and Hughes Network Systems

Ions in molten salts can go 'against the flow'

Record-breaking laser may help test Einstein's theory of relativity

In search of stable liquids

Researchers construct molecular nanofibers that are stronger than steel

Holding the system of HR 8799 together

CHEOPS finds unique planetary system

The 7 rocky TRAPPIST-1 planets may be made of similar stuff

The seven rocky planets of TRAPPIST-1 seem to have very similar compositions

A Hot Spot on Jupiter

The 15th Anniversary of New Horizons Leaving Earth

Juno mission expands into the future

Dark Storm on Neptune reverses direction, possibly shedding a fragment

Reuters Events SMR and Advanced Reactor 2023

Reuters Events SMR and Advanced Reactor 2023

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2022 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Statement Our advertisers use various cookies and the like to deliver the best ad banner available at one time. All network advertising suppliers have GDPR policies (Legitimate Interest) that conform with EU regulations for data collection. By using our websites you consent to cookie based advertising. If you do not agree with this then you must stop using the websites from May 25, 2018. Privacy Statement. Additional information can be found here at About Us.