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Secretive science.

Dr A A Griffith at the Royal Aircraft Establishment started research work on axial-flow gas turbines for aircraft propulsion in 1926, several years before Sir Frank Whittle commenced his work (Letters, PE January). Unfortunately, Griffith's work was classified as secret until November 1976; he should be fully recognised.

Discussions took place between the aircraft establishment and the steam turbine department of Metropolitan Vickers (Metrovick). The first British axial-flow jet engine was designed and built in the steam turbine department at Trafford Park and was tested in December 1941. This engine, the Metrovick F2/1, was installed in the prototype Meteor in 1943.

The German BMW and JUMO axial-flow jets were in full-scale production in 1943.

In 1945, the Ministry of Aircraft Production placed an order with Rolls-Royce for the Avon with an axial-flow compressor and with Metrovick for a similar engine, the Sapphire. Dr D M Smith, of Metrovick's steam turbine team, designed compressor blades that did not stall. In 1948, the ministry instructed that the design be handed over to Rolls-Royce to cure the problems with the Avon compressor blades.

Metrovick's steam turbine team had solved the problem.

For amplification, refer to "A steam turbine team develops Britain's first axial flow jet engine" in Engineering Progress Through Development, by R R Whyte (MEP, 1978).

Francis Brian Cowell, Hucclecote, Gloucestershire

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Title Annotation:Letters: Readers write
Author:Cowell, Francis Brian
Publication:Professional Engineering Magazine
Article Type:Letter to the editor
Date:Feb 1, 2016
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