Fellows & Staff

Peter Ireland

About me

I hold the Donald Schultz Chair in Turbomachinery and am Head of the Oxford Thermofluids Institute.  I have dedicated my career to researching the technologies used to cool systems for aircraft propulsion and power generation and now lead a broad portfolio of research programmes ranging from turbine cooling to hypersonic flow.  Between 2007 and 2011 I was the UK Corporate Specialist in Heat Transfer at Rolls-Royce where I held the senior heat transfer specialist role for projects involving turbines, fuel cells, nuclear power, fire modelling, manufacture, instrumentation, heat exchangers, power electronic cooling and combustion.

Teaching

I directly supervise a group of 16 students and postdoctoral researchers.

Research

My career has been characterised by introducing innovative solutions. My research pioneered the use of temperature sensitive liquid crystals (Ireland and Jones, 2000) in heat transfer experiments. The technique is now used by 80% of the major aero-engine manufacturers in their research and/or evaluation of new turbine blade cooling systems.  The transient method of measuring heat transfer using liquid crystals significantly improves the accuracy of the blade cooling designs.  The method rapidly delivers high resolution results which enables engine projects to refine their designs as part of engine development programmes (Ireland et al., 2010). This research has contributed directly to fuel savings.  For example, the EC funded programme that I led (ERICKA) targeted a contribution to fuel savings of over 1% for new engines. Five of the ERICKA partners use the liquid crystal method I pioneered at Oxford.  Since a conservative estimate of annual aviation fuel consumption is 250 million tonnes (producing about 750M tonnes of CO2), the impact of my research is far reaching.  I have presented my work widely to the research community including key note lectures (ICHMT conference in Antalya, 2009, Rolls-Royce Aerothermal Conference, 2016) and at the von Karman Institute. I am co-inventor of a number of high performance turbine cooling systems used in industry.  I have published more than 150 refereed papers, supervised 24 D.Phil. doctoral graduates and am co-inventor for over 20 patents.

Since returning to Oxford, I have continued my innovative approach by leading the introduction of many new research activities. The laboratory now houses the leading hypersonic flow facilities in the UK (funded by the National Wind Tunnel Facility grant from the EPSRC), as well as a major turbine casing research facility (supported by Rolls-Royce and the TSB).  The group’s activities have diversified to include nuclear fusion cooling (Nicholas et al, 2014-16) and power electronic cooling. I brought pressure sensitive paint technology that I developed whilst at Rolls-Royce (Quinn et al., 2013) to Oxford which is now being used to research high performance films for future jet engines (Wong  et al 2015).

Departmental webpage