Testing for ‘Micro Turbomachine’ a joint innovation project between IIT Madras and GE Aviation begins at NAL

The locally designed and developed aviation high-speed ‘Micro Turbomachine’ by IIT Madras and GE Aviation (GE) under a joint innovation program, which started in 2016, has now entered the testing phase.

The testing is being done at National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL). IIT Madras and GE signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) in 2016 to collaborate on research and development.

GE Aviation, an operating unit of multinational conglomerate GE, is a world-leading provider of jet engines, components, and systems for commercial and military aircraft.

The locally designed and developed aviation high-speed ‘Micro Turbomachine’, which is an important step towards technology maturation, is being tested at National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL).

“The development of Micro Turbomachine is a shining example of academia-industry collaboration to drive innovation in India. It was designed and developed as part of Ucchatar Avaishkar Yojana (UAY) launched by the Government of India to promote industrial innovation of a higher order that addresses the needs of local industry.

We are excited to see the enhanced aviation testing facilities at NAL. Testing is an important part of product development cycle, and we are delighted to work with NAL on testing the locally designed and developed Micro Turbomachine.”

Alok Nanda, CEO, GE India Technology Centre and CTO GE South Asia

During the product design process, GE and engineers and researchers of IIT Madras researchers worked together to develop a local aviation supplier ecosystem for the manufacture of high-precision and high-speed turbomachinery that adhered to global aviation industry manufacturing standards.

Two local aviation industry companies Pragati Transmission and Turbocam India participated in the manufacture and assembly of the prototype.

“The project was conceived by Late Professor B V S S Prasad (former head of the Department of Mechanical Engineering Department, IIT-M). His team of talented researchers and faculty members could meet the demands and challenges of developing the Micro Turbomachine. It took us months to conduct several simulations necessary to arrive at the optimum design of the product.

Further, test rigs were designed and developed with active collaboration between IITM and GE teams. Throughout the process, the researchers were in touch with GE Aviation engineers and there was a free and friendly exchange of knowledge between them.”

Prof. A Seshadri Sekhar, principal investigator of the project and the current Head of the Mechanical Engineering Department, IIT Madras

There is a Versatile Turbine Test Rig (VTTR) at NAL which is for high-speed turbine testing up to 50,000 rpm & 500 kW power. It will be used for the performance evaluation of micro turbomachine. We are proud to be part of the journey towards technology maturation.

Testing for ‘Micro Turbomachine’ a joint innovation project between IIT Madras and GE Aviation begins at NAL

This, according to Jitendra J Jadhav, Director, CSIR-National Aerospace Laboratories, will be used for performance evaluation of Micro Turbomachine which has been jointly developed by IIT-M and GE.

An investment of about INR 10 crore (or USD 100 million) was funded over the last five years, of which 75% was funded by IIT Madras through the UAY (Uchchatar Avishkar Yojana) scheme of the Government of India and 25% by GE.