대메뉴 바로가기 본문 바로가기

Research and development of aviation propulsion technology

Leading the Future Aviation Industry with Core Next-Generation Technologies

Aviation

Development of cutting-edge aircraft for the advancement of the aviation industry

The aviation industry is technology-led and technology-competitive based on technology integration and industry applying cutting-edge technologies such as computers, precision machinery, communications electronics, and new materials, wielding a large ripple effect on other industries. KARI focuses on improving the technology level and building the foundation for independent technology development to facilitate the development of the high-value-added aviation industry. KARI successfully developed the Bandi, a small four-seater aircraft with domestic technology and 18 core components for civil and military use as to be applied to the Korean Helicopter Program (KHP) for helicopter technology independence. That made Korea the 11th country in the world to develop helicopters. Related technologies were also derived for the development of military and civil helicopters. KARI signed the Bilateral Aviation Safety Agreement (BASA) with the United States to enter overseas markets for aviation technology and developed the small aircraft (KC-100) certified for international aviation safety.

Development of personal aircraft for eco-friendly, high-efficiency aviation technology and transportation innovation

The competition to develop eco-friendly, high-efficiency aviation technologies and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to enhance the economy, safety, and efficiency of aircraft has heated up recently. Although UAVs were initially developed for military use, their applications have recently expanded to private sectors such as science and technology, transportation, communication, logistics, rescue, aerial photography, and agriculture, and they are expected to lead the aviation industry’s growth and market in the future. According to aerospace and defense consulting company Teal group, the UAV market size is expected to grow to USD 12.5 billion by 2023, USD 880 million of which will be for civil use, to show a high annual average growth of 35%. Since UAV is the convergence system of aviation technology and IT, it is ideal for Korea. Currently considered to have the world’s top 7 UAV technical competitiveness, Korea aims to rank among the top 5 UAV industrial countries by 2023 and among the top 3 by 2027. KARI is developing a personal air vehicle (PAV) that will bring transportation innovation in the future through the convergence of advanced UAVs, aviation technology, and information and communication technology (ICT) that can penetrate the global UAV niche markets. Beginning with the Durumi, a small endurance UAV, KARI developed a medium-sized aerostat system and an LTA (Lighter Than Air) aircraft system with long endurance. It also developed the world's second smart UAV, a tiltrotor capable of both vertical takeoff/landing and high-speed flight. Since then, the institute has transferred the smart UAV technologies to industries, and it plans to develop various derivative technologies such as automatic shipboard takeoff/landing technology, tilt duct UAV, and quad tilt-prop (QTP) UAV to be used for the commercialization of tiltrotor UAV, future aircraft, and next-generation flight vehicles. KARI has also developed an electrical aerial vehicle (EAV), a solar-powered UAV that can stay in the stratosphere for a long time, and various types of disaster relief UAVs that can protect public safety and respond to disasters and accidents. Currently, KARI is developing future advanced core technologies for unmanned vehicles to identify innovative unmanned vehicles such as autonomous vehicles and autonomous ships and develop original technologies. Moreover, KARI is developing the core technologies for the optionally piloted personal air vehicle (OPPAV) that will bring new air traffic innovations, the unmanned aerial system traffic management (UTM) system for the safe and efficient flight of UAVs, and the small UAV certification technology to broaden the use of UAVs in the private sector. Its R&D program also includes the UAV collision avoidance system that automatically determines the risk of aerial collision and avoids it.

Research and development of aviation propulsion technology

Updates : 2021.06.25
Technologies for high-performance and environment-friendly propulsion system applied to a variety of aviation vehicles have been of KARI’s major interest over the decades. The R&D activities for aero propulsion fall on three major areas, which are aircraft gas turbine engines, hypersonic propulsion and environment-friendly electric propulsion. In aircraft gas turbine engine R&Ds, KARI is recently focusing on high fidelity CFD (RANS/LES) and experimental validation through rig tests for gas-path component like fan/compressor, combustor, cooled turbine to support domestic aerospace industries. These studies are possible the dedicated HPC of about 900 cores and large scale test facilities those have been continuously enhanced over the past decades. The R&D on high-speed propulsion started from fundamental studies related to air turbo ramjet in the early phase and has been extended to hypersonic propulsion R&Ds such as experimental studies on supersonic/regenerative combustion, intake performance analysis in a scramjet engine and a scaled RBCC engine demonstration, those will be core building blocks for commercialization of the hypersonic air transportation in the near future. Electric propulsion R&Ds have been initiated and performed closely related to KARI’s electrically powered technology demonstrator such as QTP (Quad Tilt Prop) UAV, EAV-1/2/2H/3 (HALE Electric Air Vehicle), 1-seated eVTOL, mainly focusing on technical issues (power/therm management) on propulsion system integration. Recently, KARI has launched a technology demonstration of GT-based hybrid electric propulsion for mid-sized UAM or long ranged eCTOL.

01Gas turbine engines for aviation

More Close
An aviation gas turbine engine has been the most suitable propulsion system for the modern aircraft due to higher specific thrust/power compared to other types of propulsion systems. Major R&Ds related to aviation gas turbine engines in KARI are performance tests of small aviation engines in large scale test facilities and CFD analysis of gas-path components and its validation through rig tests. For a recent decade, KARI has continued to improve the reliability of altitude engine test facility to simulate stable altitude condition up to 40,000ft altitude. Also engine core components technologies have been highlighted to improve engine efficiency and reduce specific fuel consumption, especially targeting for mid-size aircraft engines. Research and development activities covering design and assessing methods for highly-load axial compressors to obtain high pressure ratio up to 2.0 per stage and high pressure turbine cooling technology to withstand combustion gas temperature higher than 1400degC have been conducted. Also low-emission combustor technology to minimize pollutant emissions while increasing the combustion gas temperature have been developed. Recently, to understand detailed flow fields inside the engine components, high fidelity numerical simulation methods began to be utilized. Large eddy simulation is one of those simulation methods and currently used for resolving flow fields inside cooling turbine stages. Also, KARI has launched micro gas turbine development programs which include design platform development for micro gas turbines, hardware manufacturing and engine performance tests.
Gas turbine engines for aviation
Gas turbine engines for aviation
Gas turbine engines for aviation
Gas turbine engines for aviation
Gas turbine engines for aviation

02Hypersonic propulsion engine

More Close
Since 2005, KARI has studied the design and testing of scramjet engines and combined cycle engines using them. KARI developed various types of scaled models for the ground testing of scramjet engines and combined cycle engines at design flight speeds of Mach 5.0, 6.0, 6.7, and 7.6 and conducted design verification tests at test facilities in Korea and other countries. Moreover, it constructed a scramjet engine test facility(SETF) to conduct the scale model test under Mach 3.5, 5.0, and 6.0 conditions for tens of seconds and an ultrasonic combustor test facility to test the scale engine combustor model in March 2.0 for several minutes. It is the first technology developed in Korea to realize supersonic combustion through manufacturing and testing of a self-designed scramjet engine, scramjet combustion using liquid hydrocarbon fuel and regenerative cooling combustion. In the future, we are aiming to put these technologies into practical use through phased application.
KARI SETF
HC1 Engine
HC2 Engine

03Electric-powered propulsion system

More Close
KARI has been actively promoting the development of electric propulsion systems for next-generation air vehicles since 2010. In 2011, a high-efficiency electric propulsion system composed of solar cells, fuel cells, batteries, and an active power management system, was applied to an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), named EAV-2. In 2012, EAV-2H by using solar cells and batteries demonstrated more than 25 hours of continuous flight. In 2015, a battery pack and a driving motor, designed to operate at high altitude, were developed in Korea and installed in a drone, whose ultra-light wing structure was adapted with solar cells, to operate in the stratosphere. This drone, named EAV-3, flew continuously in the stratosphere at an altitude of 18.5 km for 12 hours. This was accomplishment was the first of its kind for Korea and the third in the world. Moreover, a hybrid electric power system was developed in 2018 for a quad tilt prop UAV with a maximum take-off weight (MTOW) of 48 kg by using a small reciprocating engine, generator, and battery since 2016. This system successfully achieved a 1-hour flight, which is twice the flight time (30 minutes) when a conventional battery was used. Furthermore, core parts of the electric propulsion system for the next-generation optionally piloted personal air vehicle (OPPAV) and a 150 kW-class lightweight electric propulsion system are currently being developed in a project led by the Korea Aerospace Research Institute. Moreover, a study on a hybrid-electric propulsion system for gas turbines, which is expected to be applied to long-range/high-speed electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) and long-range/high-speed electric conventional take-off and landing (eCTOL), was initiated in 2021.

EAV-3, stratospheric solar power UAV

  • Wing length20 m (fuselage length: 9 m)
  • Takeoff weight53kg
  • Cruising velocity25.2km/h
  • Maximum velocity43km/h
EAV-3 Electric Power System
Hybrid Electric Power System for QTP UAV
TOP