Schübeler Composite, University of Paderborn to develop composite jet engine

The multifunctional electric jet engine will consist of carbon composites and aluminum alloys.

The German company Schübeler Composite will work with the Laboratory for Materials and Fixing Technology (LWF) from the University of Paderborn on a new research project to develop a multifunctional 30 kW jet engine. The jet engine will consist largely of various lightweight materials such as carbon composites (carbon fiber-reinforced plastics) and high-strength aluminum alloys.

The drive is based on the idea of a classic fan engine with high bypass ratio. The core engine that drives the main fan will be replaced by an electronically commutated electric motor. Only a very small part of the total air flow is conducted through the motor for cooling purposes.

The joining of the lightweight components, which will be under very high mechanical and thermal loads when operating, will probably be one of the biggest challenges in the development of the jet engine. "We think we have found exactly the right partner with the LWF for the upcoming challenges. We look forward to a successful cooperation," said Daniel Schübeler, CEO of Schübeler Composite.

During the project, LWF will make the used compounds predictable by numerical simulations and scalable for future performance levels. "At the end of the project Schübeler Composite is then able to interpret the sophisticated compounds within the new product independently," said Marc Wünsche, project editor at the LWF.

The project gets an innovation grant from the German Ministry of Economy and Energy as part of the Central Innovation Program for SMEs (ZIM).

The demand for jet engines and compact axial compressors in the performance class up to 30 kW have increased in the recent years for various application fields such as racing, wind tunnel operation, industry and civil protection (such as drones).