UVA Engineering to Conduct Research for Rolls-Royce - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

UVA Engineering to Conduct Research for Rolls-Royce

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The University of Virginia’s Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering Department is now part of an elite group of schools providing research for Rolls-Royce.

Rolls-Royce says Wednesday's announcement solidifies a connection with the university that began several years ago. The company partnered with the state to provide funding for UVA's state-of-the-art engineering lab.

UVA joins more than 30 other university technology centers worldwide that perform research for Rolls-Royce.

Engineering Department Chairman Hossein Haj-Hairiri says this partnership gives students the opportunity to put practical experience to use directly in the industry.

"In the morning to afternoon, they have a design that's working, so this really allows us to do things that very few other schools can do today,” said Haj-Hairiri.

Now, much of the work students do at UVA will be put directly into Rolls-Royce projects.

"We don't have a lot of Rolls-Royce people sitting in a big building doing research. We work with universities around the world, and we're really pleased that UVA is coming into that family, as we like to think of it,” said Ric Parker, director of research for Rolls-Royce.

The partnership will also offer many new opportunities for aspiring engineering students.

"Our students learn about jet engines, and then we can place them through internships and also employment in Rolls-Royce, and we've been doing more and more of that since the partnership started,” said Parker.

Haj-Hairiri says the most exciting part of the partnership for him is the new capabilities it gives his students.

"We can create tools that again, maybe even a decade ago, would have required a room full of engineers or a floor full of engineers to do. Now one student could with the right equipment can do all of that,” said Haj-Hairiri.

Thanks to the 3D printing lab, students have already made practical engineering solutions. Professors say their classes designed an engine that used to cost $250,000 to make for $2,500 using printable, plastic parts.

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