Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Volcanic ash and aircraft safety

Date:
September 19, 2011
Source:
University of Leicester
Summary:
A pioneering technology to study volcanic ash will help advise the aircraft industry as to whether it is safe to fly following an explosive volcanic eruption.

Research at the University of Leicester is using pioneering technology to study volcanic ash so that better advice will be available to the aircraft industry as to whether it is safe to fly following an explosive volcanic eruption.

Related Articles


The study, led jointly by Dr Hongbiao Dong, Reader in Engineering Materials and expert in solidification (Department of Engineering), and Dr Mike Branney, an expert in explosive volcanoes in the Department of Geology, is about what happens when volcanic ash particles are heated in jet engines. It uses Thermal Analysis and X-ray Computed Tomography to analyse the temperature at which volcanic ash solidifies and melts.

The blades of aircraft engines operate at temperatures above their melting point and need a constant flow of cooling air blowing through tiny holes in the blades. The air floats onto the surface of the blades and forms a protective film that stops them reaching the same temperature as the combustion process of the engine.

Volcanic ash can reach a temperature of 2,000˚C in the engine, and will melt. If it is sucked into the tiny holes in engine blades the melted ash solidifies to a layer of glass and blocks the ventilation holes, and the engine will fail because the blades then melt.

Drs Dong and Branney are working with two contrasting types of volcanic ash, measuring their melting temperature in a Differential Scanning Calorimeter. They then study its morphology (structure) using X-ray Computed Tomography. The work is a new initiative that combines engineering and volcanology.

Volcanoes erupt frequently in Iceland and at other locations around the world, and the impact of ash on aviation can be considerable, depending on whether winds carry the ash across flight paths and airports.

The instrumentation used in this research is part of a new £1million hi-tech engineering centre, MaTIC, that works with industry to drive innovation in materials technology. The centre includes a range of advanced equipment for the understanding of materials behaviour.

Professor Sarah Hainsworth, who heads MaTIC, said: "MaTiC was initiated to bring together advanced techniques and equipment for studying a range of materials and materials problems, be they manufactured materials in components such as turbine blades or naturally occurring materials such as rocks, fossils, or in this case volcanic ash.

"It is investment in these types of equipment that have allowed the research into volcanic ash and flight safety to happen. It's the type of scientific techniques and application of expertise across the different academic disciplines that have allowed this research to go ahead. Research of this type allows us to develop greater insight into problems affecting industry."

An important concept of MaTIC is its interdisciplinary nature. Dr Hongbiao Dong said: "The establishment of this centre has encouraged us to collaborate across different areas of science and engineering and I hope exciting findings will emerge as a result of this interdisciplinary approach."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Leicester. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Leicester. "Volcanic ash and aircraft safety." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 September 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110915083706.htm>.
University of Leicester. (2011, September 19). Volcanic ash and aircraft safety. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 31, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110915083706.htm
University of Leicester. "Volcanic ash and aircraft safety." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110915083706.htm (accessed March 31, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

You Won't Be Driving Tesla's Mystery Product

You Won't Be Driving Tesla's Mystery Product

Newsy (Mar. 30, 2015) — Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced a new product line will debut April 30, but it&apos;s not a car. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Solar Impulse Departs Myanmar for China

Solar Impulse Departs Myanmar for China

AFP (Mar. 30, 2015) — Solar Impulse 2 takes off from Myanmar&apos;s second biggest city of Mandalay and heads for China&apos;s Chongqing, the fifth flight of a landmark journey to circumnavigate the globe powered solely by the sun. Duration: 00:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Colombian Project Transforms Old Tires Into Green Housing

Colombian Project Transforms Old Tires Into Green Housing

AFP (Mar. 30, 2015) — To put a roof over their heads and help the environment, residents near Bogota are building houses out of recycled bottles and old tires. Duration: 01:10 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Future Of Japanese Whaling: Heritage Vs. Conservation

The Future Of Japanese Whaling: Heritage Vs. Conservation

Newsy (Mar. 30, 2015) — In 2014, the International Court of Justice ruled Japan could no longer engage in whaling in the Antarctic, but Japan has plans to return this year. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins