This area is for people interested in thermal products and processes related to aerospace. Click on the items below. Asterisks (*) indicate the currently most popular links.


Case studies

Case 1.  Testing turbine blades at high temperatures.

High performance jet engines use turbine blades coated with zirconia. The zirconia layers not only insulate the turbine blades, allowing them to operate in engine temperatures above their melting point, but strongly reflect the intense radiation in the engine.

In developing blade coatings the adhesion of the thin thermal barrier coating is critical. Rather than testing coatings in engines, laboratories can simulate the thermal cycle of take-off using a radiant furnace which can heat specimens to over 1300 °C in less than 60 seconds. However, to design such a furnace it is critical to know the spectral emissivity (or reflectivity) of the zirconia film so that the radiation can be ‘tuned’ to the right intensity and most efficient wavelength to heat the specimen.

The question is – ‘What is the emissivity of zirconia?’

The emissivity of zirconia varies widely with material composition, method of deposition (manufacture), surface topography and impurity content. The emissivity varies dramatically with wavelength and temperature.



Roy Taylor, professor emeritus of materials science at UMIST

Guenther Neuer, University of Stuttgart

Damian Austin, British Aerospace


Industry guides



The European Virtual Institute for Gas Turbine Instrumentation (EVI-GTI) aims to be the focal point for sector needs and solutions, promoting collaboration, R&D proposals, knowledge exchange, training and development and representing members’ needs.

The European Association of Aerospace Industries, AECMA, represents the aerospace industry in Europe in all matters of common interest on the level of aircraft/systems, engines, equipment and components. Its objective is to enhance the competitive development of the whole sector.

These companies are forming the Council of AECMA:

Following are some aeronautical networks:

  • AERONET Thematic Network of the European Commission on Aircraft Emissions and Reduction Technologies
  • AERO-SCRATCH.NET SCRATCH : Services for CollaboRative SMEs Aeronautical Technical researCH
  • ERCOFTAC European Research Community On Flow, Turbulence And Combustion
  • PEGASUS Partnership of a European Group of Aeronautics and Space Universities
  • X-NOISE Network Dedicated to Aircraft Noise Reduction Efforts in Europe


The Cranfield University Department of Power, Propulsion and Aerospace Engineering has four research groups, among which are Combustor and Heat Transfer Technology, and Gas Turbine Engineering. Topics covered include combustion, heat transfer, catalysis, internal aerodynamics and optical diagnostics.

Some other research establishments are:

  • CIRA Italian Aerospace Research Centre
  • DLR German Aerospace Centre
  • FOI Swedish Defense Research Agency
  • INTA Instituto Nacional de Técnica Aeroespacial
  • NLR Nationaal Lucht- en Ruimtevaartlaboratorium (National Aerospace Laboratory NLR)
  • ONERA Office National d'Etudes et de Recherches Aerospatiales
  • QinetiQ Science and technology powerhouse formed from the major part of DERA, the British Government's defence research and development organisation



Information about European Union-funded projects may be found at CORDIS (Community Research & Development Information Service). And you can try to find specific projects here.


Temperature measurement

Infrared (non-contact) temperature measurement equipment and related resources (like training, calibration & industry application notes) can be found at the sites below:

FLIR Systems
Land Instruments International
Mikron Infrared


Thermal property data

Firstly, try the evitherm data centre, where you might find the data you need and, if it's pay-for, more cheaply.


Useful links

Thermal Resource Centre a US site that has educational material, shareware, NIST database on thermal transmission properties of building materials, how to size pipe insulation, a whole wall thermal performance calculator, calculation tool for sizing heat pipes, information with links on electronics thermal management, thermal property data on solids, liquids and gases; has links to other sites and resources.

Reference materials

NPL provides reference materials for various thermophysical properties (thermal conductivity, diffusivity, emissivity etc.) and material types (metals, ceramics, insulation, etc.)

NIST provides reference materials for chemical composition, engineering and physical properties.