Editor’s Note: This article was submitted
by a student in an aviation technology class
that worked with AeroCore this spring.
Purdue is again contributing to advancements in the aviation industry.
In March, AeroCore Technologies, in conjunction with Purdue University, cleaned and restored an aircraft engine owned by the School of Aviation and Transportation Technology, utilizing an innovative technology invented by a Purdue graduate.
The goal was to demonstrate the ability to effectively and efficiently remove contaminants on engine surfaces, improve engine compressor performance, reduce fuel consumption and decrease engine maintenance costs.
AeroCore has been cleaning and restoring jet engines for six years and recently received full acceptance from the Federal Aviation Administration for their foam technology and application process. The FAA acceptance allows AeroCore to commercialize their product and directly market the technology to airlines and cargo carriers.
AeroCore’s founder, alumnus Jorge Saenz, is a 2004 graduate from the School of Mechanical Engineering at Purdue. His company, AeroCore Technologies, based in Zionsville, Indiana, has created a field of foam technology that is used in the highly competitive market of aircraft engine performance, sustainability and restoration.
Recognizing just how effective and noninvasive foam was throughout his career, Saenz found himself wondering where else to apply this innovative technology.
Several years ago, Saenz recalled an airplane flying overhead, and his thoughts became clear.
“I wonder what the aviation industry does to clean aircraft engines so that they last longer, improve performance and reduce fuel burn,” Saenz said.
Much to his surprise, Saenz could not find a single example, even globally, of the industry utilizing foam technology to clean and restore aircraft engines. He understood his next step was to gain access to an aircraft engine on which to validate this technology.
Six years ago, Jorge reached out to his Purdue professors and leaders of the Technical Assistance Program. Within weeks, Purdue supported Saenz by pairing him with the aeronautical engineering technology program in the School of Aviation and Transportation Technology and John Michael Davis, a professor and longtime mentor.
“Establishing a mentorship relationship with seasoned professors like Davis was a huge factor to early success, given his deep domain expertise and strong relationships in the aviation industry,” Saenz said.
AeroCore continues to look for ways to engage and include Purdue students as it grows. Davis’ students in his 400-level class participated in the latest engine demonstration.
According to data compiled from March’s tests and previous engine runs, AeroCore’s process has yielded up to a 25-degree-Celsius decrease in exhaust gas temperature margin and a reduction of up to 3 percent in fuel flow, which could mean huge savings in fuel expenditures and greenhouse gas emissions.
As an active reserve component service member of the U.S. Air Force, Davis is equally excited about foam as an innovative cleaning technology to improve fuel efficiency, decrease emissions, decrease maintenance cost and events and ultimately improve the U.S. armed forces’ overall readiness capabilities.
“Foam cleaning using AeroCore’s technology has shown to consistently yield two to three times the effectiveness and efficiency of traditional aircraft engine wash methods,” Davis said. “It has been exciting to watch and engage with Jorge and the AeroCore team as they grew from a pilot program to a relevant industry technology in aviation.
“This is an exciting time for AeroCore Technologies, and Jorge Saenz has indicated there is more to come. AeroCore is in discussion with a leading Industrial Internet-of-Things provider to tackle the data behind engine washing and unlock the full potential of managed engine restoration services.”
“We intend to become an industry leader in engine wash capability with our innovative technology,” Saenz said.