The Rolls-Royce UltraFan is a high-bypass geared turbofan engine, expected to be one of the most advanced and efficient commercial aircraft engines in the world. Still under development and testing, we share some of the key features of the UltraFan and how it differs from the Trent engines.
Key features of the UltraFan:
The UltraFan is designed to be up to 25% more fuel-efficient than previous Rolls-Royce engines, due to its advanced high-bypass ratio design (high-bypass refers to an engine that derives most of its thrust from the fan), and use of lightweight composite materials.
The UltraFan will be significantly quieter than previous Rolls-Royce engines due to its advanced noise-reducing technologies. This includes a low-noise exhaust system and acoustic treatments on the engine casing.
The UltraFan features a geared architecture that allows the engine’s fan to operate at a slower speed than the compressor and turbine, increasing efficiency and reducing noise.
The UltraFan will make extensive use of lightweight composite materials, including carbon fiber, to reduce weight and increase efficiency.
The UltraFan is designed to be highly modular, with interchangeable components that can be easily swapped out for maintenance or upgrades.
How does the UltraFan compare to the Trent engine?
The UltraFan and Trent engines are both high-bypass turbofan engines developed by Rolls-Royce, but there are some key differences between the two:
The UltraFan features a geared architecture, with a variable pitch fan system, while the Trent engines use a traditional fixed pitch fan system. The geared architecture of the UltraFan allows the engine to operate more efficiently at slower fan speeds, reducing noise and improving fuel efficiency.
The Trent engines are also highly fuel-efficient, but with a slightly lower efficiency than the UltraFan.
The UltraFan is designed to be significantly quieter than previous Rolls-Royce engines, due to its advanced noise-reducing technologies. These include a low-noise exhaust system and acoustic treatments on the engine casing. While the Trent engines are also relatively quiet, they do not offer the same level of noise reduction as the UltraFan.
The UltraFan is designed to be highly modular, with interchangeable components that can be easily swapped out for maintenance or upgrades. The Trent engines are also modular, but may not offer the same level of flexibility as the UltraFan.
The UltraFan is designed to be a larger engine, with a thrust range of 25,000 to 100,000lb, while Trent engines have a thrust range of 68,000 to 115,000lb.
What’s the latest with testing?
Rolls-Royce has been testing the UltraFan engine in various stages of development since 2019. The engine was transferred to Rolls-Royce’s £90m testbed facility in Derby last December and it has been reported that the first ground run of the UltraFan technology demonstrator is ‘imminent’. The UltraFan is predicted to launch in 2025.
How is WDB Ltd involved?
We were delighted to be a part of the Ultrafan project where we balanced fast-make development parts with quick turnaround times to support the testing programme.