Spinoff, the magazine of NASA's technology transfer program, published an article recently detailing the partnership between Pratt & Whitney and NASA that resulted in the first significant steps forward in jet engine performance in a generation – the introduction of geared turbofan (GTF) technology on the PurePower engine platform.
The article, "Aircraft Geared Architecture Reduces Fuel Cost and Noise," describes how the two aviation pioneers teamed up through NASA's Subsonic Fixed Wing Project, which is tasked with helping the private sector advance fuel efficiency and noise-reduction technologies.
Working in various engine-testing facilities at Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio, and with additional funding from other agency programs, "Pratt & Whitney developed and tested a gearbox technology wherein the turbine and fan spin at their optimal speeds," according to the article. "The result is a more than 15 percent increase in fuel-burn efficiency and a nearly 75 percent reduction in noise pollution."
The article also quotes then Pratt & Whitney Chief Engineer of Technology Michael Winter (now director, United Technologies Systems & Controls Engineering) who said, "The first A in NASA stands for aeronautics, and the agency brings world class researchers and facilities to the table. ... It's a tremendous resource for the industry and the nation."
Read the full article here: http://spinoff.nasa.gov/Spinoff2015/pdf/t_1.pdf