After a false start studying as a geologist, Rory Clarkson went on to complete a Bachelor’s Degree and Doctorate (PhD) in mechanical engineering. Following periods in the nuclear and commercial engineering software industries he joined Rolls-Royce plc in 1997, as a thermofluids specialist, helping design aircraft gas turbine engines. Since the end of 2010 he has led the team responsible for ensuring Rolls-Royce engines can operate acceptably in the extremes of environment they are likely to encounter; extremes caused by water (rain, hail and icing conditions), sand, dust, volcanic ash and chemical pollutants. His expertise and standing within the aviation industry in these fields was recognised by Rolls-Royce in 2017 when he was elected as an Engineering Associate Fellow. His work on volcanic ash and aviation resulted in him receiving two awards; the 2016 Institution of Mechanical Engineers Derek Astridge Safety Award and the 2018 UK Civil Aviation Authority Flight Safety Award. In 2020 he was also made an Honorary Professor at the University of Manchester, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences and an MBE in the 2020 Queen’s Birthday Honours list.
As an Industrial Fellow Rory will work with IMI to develop mathematical models that will better understand the impact harsh environmental agents (e.g. icing conditions, gaseous agents, mineral dust and volcanic ash) have on aircraft engines and to use this knowledge to help design engines that perform better in harsh conditions.