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Designing more efficient rotating machines

Our researchers have helped create new designs and standards with real benefits across the power generation industry.

close up of a gas turbine
Electricity generation relies on rotating machines

Rotate to stay ahead

Electricity generation is a competitive sector of industry. Companies need to design and manufacture more efficient products to keep up with their competitors. In recent years, they have had to deal with the added challenge of meeting targets to reduce CO2 emissions.

Rotating machines in the form of turbines are central to electricity production. Making these more efficient has both economic and environmental benefits for companies.

Key components

Our researchers collaborated with industry to find innovative designs and efficient manufacturing processes. Using theoretical, experimental and computational modelling methods, our researchers have:

  • improved the design method and thermal efficiency of rim seals
  • optimised the functionality of active magnetic bearings (AMBs) to minimise risk of failure and address standard requirements
  • designed and delivered an experimental facility for oil-free compressor dynamic investigations

Patent benefits

Our research innovations have had positive economic and environmental outcomes for industry. We have improved the design and performance of rotating machinery for component distributors, original equipments manufacturers, and end-users.

An improved rim seal product design was patented by Siemens. And our improved design methods have been adopted by practitioners and engineers within the company.

Our research has contributed to improvements in the company's technology and competitiveness in the power generation industry. It has also helped to reduce CO2 emissions through improved engine efficiency.

Our research on AMBs has been incorporated into new and modified professional standards. The impact of our research was recognised internationally with an invitation for our academics to serve on the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO).

The oil-free experimental facility we designed and delivered for GE Global Research (Munich) has allowed them to develop their compressor designs for subsea machines. It's also been used to train engineers in the future development of oil-free compressors.

REF submission

This research was part of our REF 2014 submission for Aeronautical, Mechanical, Chemical and Manufacturing Engineering.

‘The input from Bath has contributed significantly to the development of rigorous standards for AMB operation in a range of industrial applications.’
Director of Technology Calnetix