After inventing the gas wave turbine Ron then transferred to a new company in Gloucester called, ‘Hawker Siddeley Brush Turbines’ where he designed a facility that tested, under pulsing conditions, full size turbochargers for large ships. This company unfortunately ceased trading after a while but the initiator of the program, Professor J. H. Horlock, impressed by the fact that the apparatus operated without need for any development, offered Ron a lectureship at Liverpool University.
Ron soon transferred to Bath University in the hope of ultimately getting back into industry.
At Bath one of the projects he initiated was the development of a pulsing combustor together with computer simulation. Babcock and Wilcox, a boiler manufacturer, funded development for application to a new range of ‘Package boilers’. They demanded rapid development. Within one year all problems had been resolved with a unit able to produce an unprecedented pressure gain of 12%, which was three times the initial target requirement. Also operation over a wide range of fuel input was achieved. Pulse combustion is highly advantageous since heat transfer is exceptionally high making for cheap and compact boilers.
Babcox then cancelled the program explaining that it was too late since they had needed to choose between pulse combustion and fluidised bed. They had just decided to go for the latter option. A few years later they found erosion of tubing by the fluidised sand was unacceptably high and discarded that option. Had they gone with us, instead of absorbing huge electric power for the blowers needed for fluidisation, power would have been provided sufficient to operate all auxiliaries, furthermore no erosion problem would have arisen.
The final chance of a return to industry appeared by way of a letter arriving from the USA in 1981. Apparently work on the development of gas wave turbines had been proceeding for several years and a small number of teams were involved. None had yet achieved a design that would work at all. Ron was invited to act as consultant. The result was the proposal from Pratt and Whitney, the aero-engine manufacturers, for a joint development program with Canada. Ron was to be Technical Director. At last he was able to resign his university post and make preparations for emigration.
At the last minute he was told that problems with the funding had appeared and a few months later the program was cancelled. The reason had nothing to do with the project. The funding arrangements were part of Canadian Government ‘Tax Credit’ scheme designed to promote high-risk new technology. Unfortunately entrepreneurs on other projects funded by the scheme had been able to exploit a loophole for diversion of the funds allocated to private use. The Canadian Minister involved said he never realised how many crooks existed in his country.
It was now 1986 and Ron was finally away from a university now overstaffed and offering redundancies. He was in early retirement. Fortunately this provided ample time for a complete change of interest.
By now he had discovered a gap in understanding that seemed to be diverting physicists and cosmologists onto a false track. He had a new target - returning knowledge to its source to fill the gap. This meant solving a major problem in cosmology where his understanding of mechanics, thermodynamics and wave action could be applied in a new sphere.