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Rolls-Royce’s Latest Jet Engine is Made Out of Legos

by philewing on July 10, 2012

FARNBOROUGH, England — Pentagon and defense industry leaders in the U.S. have a favorite, near-ubiquitous expression: They want to entice more kids into “STEM:” Science, technology, engineering and math. Future generations of engineers and scientists will be critical for DoD and its vendors to keep their edge, the thinking goes.

So too here in the U.K., where jet engine-builder Rolls-Royce accomplished a technical feat of its own to get kids interested in what is literally the high-speed world of jettery: It commissioned a scale Lego model of its Trent 1000 engine, which is on display at the air show.

Jet engines are fascinating and incredible machines, and Rolls’ Lego version makes what is usually a frightening and painfully noisy contraption a little easier to understand. Per the company, here were its stats:

The one of a kind Lego structure shows the complex inner workings of a jet engine and took four people eight weeks to complete. Including 152,455 Lego bricks, the engine weighs 307 kg and is over 2 meters long and 1.5 meters wide. Over 160 separate engine components were built and joined together in order to replicate a real jet engine. Everything from the large fan blades which suck air into the engine down to the combustion chambers where fuel is burned, had to be analysed and replicated using the world famous building blocks.

You don’t want to get too close to a real Trent 1000 when it’s turning and burning under the wing of a Boeing 787. The genuine article draws as much as 1.25 tons of air every second at takeoff, Rolls says; at that speed each of its 66 blades delivers about the same power as a Formula One car — about 800 horsepower per blade. The company’s fun facts conclude with this: “At full power air leaves the nozzle at the back of the engine travelling at almost 900 mph.”

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