Purdue, Rolls-Royce ink $75M deal for testing propulsion tech

Rolls-Royce Corp. has agreed to pay Purdue University $75 million over 10 years for its help in testing aerospace technology for national defense, largely at the university’s Zucrow Laboratories for propulsion systems.

Purdue and Rolls-Royce on Tuesday announced the agreement, which will fund testing and research with a focus in the areas of gas turbine technology and electrical and digital technology.

Purdue President Mitch Daniels said in a media release that the partnership “will address some of the greatest technology challenges facing the U.S. Our faculty and students will work on advanced technology capabilities to ensure long-term national security. This will enhance the university’s role as a world leader in engineering research.”

Purdue touts its Zucrow Laboratories as the largest academic propulsion lab in the world. The facilities occupy a 24-acre site adjacent to the Purdue University Airport and focus on disciplines including the aerodynamics of turbo machinery, aeroacoustics, combustion, computational fluid mechanics and particle flow heat transfer.

Purdue and Rolls-Royce have collaborated on aerospace technology for more than 70 years.

“Over the next decade, we’ll explore transformative technologies like hybrid-electric and hypersonic propulsion that will help define the future of aerospace,” said Warren White, head of assembly and testing for Rolls-Royce.

In August, Rolls-Royce announced that it was making a “major investment” in its aircraft engine testing facilities in both West Lafayette and Indianapolis.

In partnership with Purdue University and the Purdue Research Foundation, Rolls-Royce said it plans to expand an existing building and add three new facilities at the Purdue Aerospace District, just off Purdue’s campus. The project will add 50,000 square feet of testing facilities to the site.

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