The Novosibirsk Technical University (NTU) in Russia has developed what it claims to be the world's first all-aluminium aircraft engine capable of powering the twin-seater Yak-52 airplane.
Weighing just 200 kg, the new engine is 50 kg lighter than the Yak-52's previous steel alloy engine. Its power has increased by 10% while fuel consumption has been reduced by 15%, according to a TASS report attributed to a NTU press release.
According to the developers, all engine parts were previously made of steel. The developers have been able to replace them with aluminum thanks to special technology, which helps apply a thin layer of aluminum oxide characterized by high hardness to aluminum parts.
"The world’s first aircraft engine fully made of aluminium has been developed by designers of the basic Novosibirsk State Technical University. Even the parts exposed to the highest loads are made of aluminum, namely, the crankshaft, cylinder barrels and the flywheel," the Novosibirsk Region Ministry of Education, Science and Innovation Policy said on Tuesday.
The Yak-52 is a basic trainer used by the former Soviet Union air force. The new engine could help revive the fortunes of the aircraft and could be a candidate engine for the Yak-152 the new basic trainer being developed by Irkut Corp which has a German-made diesel engine.