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Turbomachinery Facilities

Small Engine Components Compressor Test Facility (CE-18)

This facility provides the capability for investigating the performance of advanced single- and multistage axial and centrifugal compressors, and various stage combinations over a wide range of speed, power, and mass flow. The facility consists of a 6000-hp motor/gearbox which drives a research compressor at speeds up to 60,000 rpm achieving overall pressure ratios up to 30:1. The compressor can draw air from either an atmospheric intake, a 40-psig pressure source, or 10-psig refrigerated air system. Air enters the inlet plenum tank, passes through the compressor, and discharges through a throttle valve and cooling water spray before it enters the altitude or atmospheric exhaust system. The rig can accommodate compressors up to 20 in. in diameter. This facility is used to test compressors for gas turbine engines at conditions similar to those found in normal use as well as advanced concepts.

CE-18 Special Features

A distributed data acquisition system provides on-line and post-run processing; ESCORT-D handles up to 576 channels of analog inputs both steady state and discrete from an ESP system. Two 14-channel magnetic tape recorders are used for dynamic data and the LDV system measures flow path behavior.

CE-18 Facility Capabilities
Parameter Operating value
Inlet air pressure Atm to 40 psig
Inlet air temperature -20 to ambient
Inlet airflow 60 lb/s max
Atmospheric exhaust 14.7 psid
Altitude exhaust 20-26 in. Hg
Rotor speed 60,000 rpm max
Rotor size (centrif/ax) 8 to 20 in.
Drive motor 6,000 hp
CE-18 System Instrumentation
System Number and Type
Netscanner 96 Ports of +/- 15 PSID
288 Ports of +/- 50 PSID
Barometric Ref
Escort 351 Channels
300 Available to the Customer
DTS 96 Type K
96 Type E
25 used for Facility

Low Speed Compressor Facility (W-1A)

This unique facility provides for an increased understanding of the complex flow phenomena within the curved centrifugal channels and multi-stage axial compressors. Designed for a 4-ft diameter axial flow compressor, W-1A can be also be restored to facilitate a 5-ft diameter centrifugal flow compressor. Air enters the facility through a filtered roof vent, is conditioned for temperature and turbulence, and then passes through the research compressor. The axial compressor has a removable casing treatment under rotor one and rotor three, which allows for various tip treatment studies. The axial compressor has been configured for injection of air through the stator footring, stator blades and endwalls to assess flow control. Airflow exiting the compressor is controlled by a throttle valve, close coupled to the collector, and discharged into the atmospheric (axial) or altitude (centrifugal) exhaust system. The compressor rotor is driven by a 1500-hp variable speed drive motor. The increased size and low speed permits instrumentation to be located directly in the compressor’s complex flow paths. The detailed flowfield measurements will assess the emerging CFD codes as well as provide data for the development of flow models required by the CFD codes.

W-1A Special Features

Optical access windows in the compressor casing are used in conjunction with nonintrusive measurements and flow visualization techniques. Data such as pressures, temperatures, and flow angles are measured in both rotating and nonrotating passages using standard instrumentation, hot wires, flow visualization, trace gases, and LDV, PIV and pressure sensitive paint. Data recording, processing, and display are accomplished through the facility’s distributed data acquisition system, with input data from analog and discrete inputs or steady-state pressure inputs from the Electronic Scanned Pressure (ESP) system.

W-1A Facility Capabilities
Parameter Operating Value
Inlet air pressure Atmospheric
Inlet air temperature Ambient
Inlet airflow (centrif/ax) 66-32 lb/s
Atmospheric exhaust 0.8 psid blowers
Altitude exhaust 20-26 in hg
Rotor speed (centrif/ax) 1920/1050 r/min
Rotor diameter (centrif/ax) 60/48 in
Drive motor 1500hp
W-1A System Instrumentation
System Number and Type
ESP (steady state pressures) 384 Ports of +/- 1 PSID
Barometric Ref
Escort (facility data system) 128 Analog Channels
112 Available to the Customer
Dewetron (facility data system) 32 channels @ 1-200 kHz
Kulites 16 Transducers +/- 5 PSID
Thermocouples 96 Type E/K

Single Spool Turbine Facility (W-6A)

The W-6A facility has undergone several recent enhancements that have resulted in upgraded capabilities that include enhanced power absorption, upgraded torque measurement, and improved flow measurement, to name a few.  As a turbine testing facility, these improvements are intended to better facilitate research in advanced turbine design features and improve the fundamental understanding of the dominant flow phenomena in multistage high pressure (HP) and low pressure (LP) axial turbines. W-6A is supplied with 40-psig air, which is then heated by natural-gas fired combustors, drives the research turbine and exits through a torus-like collector into the altitude exhaust system. Electrically-heated secondary air provides simulated coolant bleeds at desired temperature ratios, including provisions for heated air to control shroud growth and rotor clearances. Data from detailed flow-field measurements, unsteady effects, and interaction effects provide better understanding of flow physics through a multistage turbine and provide a database to use in CFD code validation.

W-6A Special Features

The turbine is motored to desired speed by a 12,420-hp synchronous machine and gearbox (7.871:1 ratio).  Once at speed, the synch machine transitions from motor to generator as turbine airflow is introduced and the resultant turbine shaft power must be absorbed.  The shaft has a 1” bore, which provides the capability to pass wiring from rotating turbine-measurement instruments to a 100-channel slip ring.  The data acquisition and display system consists of 512 analog and 576 pressure measurements using ESCORT D and an ESP system. Slip ring measurements include thermocouple, pressure transducers, or strain gage signals. Torque output is measured using an in-line torque meter.

W-6A Facility Capabilities
Parameter Operating value
Primary air pressure 40 psig
Secondary air temperature 150 psig
Inlet air temperature 950 deg F max
Primary airflow 27 lb/s
Altitude exhaust pressure 2 psia min
Rotor speed 14,000 rpm max
Rotor size 52-in. diameter
Power Absorption @ Synch Machine 12,420 hp; 36,217 ft-lb max torque
Turbine Torque Limits 4600 ft-lb max (@7.871 max gear ratio);
24,000 ft-lb max (@1.51 min gear ratio)
Torquemeter +/- 2500 ft-lb current config;
+/- 10,000 ft-lb frame capability
W-6A System Instrumentation
System Number and Type
ESP 192 Ports of +/- 15 PSID
64 Ports of +/- 30 PSID
32 Ports of +/1 100 PSID
Barometric Reference
Escort 704 Analog Channels
64 Available to the Customer
Thermocouples 144 Type K
240 Type E
96 Channels available for any type

High Speed Multistage Compressor Facility (W-7)

W-7 is currently configured as the High Speed Multistage Compressor Facility in support of testing experimental compressors and fans.  The facility is set up for SBU (Sensitive But Unclassified) security.

The facility driveline components to support this testing include a 15,000-hp synchronous drive motor  and a 5.2045:1 ratio gearbox.  Test article shaft speed capability ranges from 1640 to 15000 rpm.

Inlet air for a test package can be supplied by several means. Atmospheric air (filtered) is drawn in from outside the facility, or pressurized air can be supplied from the combustion air supply system (20 psig @ 90 lbm/s – nominally ambient temperature).  After entering the inlet piping, the inlet air is drawn through a V-cone flow-measuring device, coarse and fine inlet throttle valves, and the plenum tank for flow-conditioning prior to entering the test article.

Air is exhausted through a back-pressure throttle valve and collector and discharged either to an atmospheric vent or, for flow-assist purposes, through a low-vacuum blower system (approx. 13 psia), or can also exhaust to the central process altitude exhaust system (@ 2 psia).

The hydraulic control system provides fine metering of throttle valve action, including fast-open capability.  The system also provides control for up to 5 variable stator vane rows. Vane position for each row can be maintained per a schedule based on corrected speed.

W-7 Facility Capabilities
Parameter Operating value
Inlet air pressure Atm to 20 psig
Inlet air temperature 34 to 100°F
Inlet airflow 90 lbm/s
Atmospheric exhaust .8 psid blowers
Altitude exhaust 2 psia
Rotor speed 18,700 rpm
Rotor size 20 to 22 in.
Drive motor 15,000 hp

Instrumentation and Data Acquisition

W7 has an ESCORT data system for steady-state instrumentation display and recording purposes. ESCORT data can be batched and sent, in semi-real time, to remote customers. Inputs to the ESCORT system include pressure channels, thermocouple channels and analog inputs. Pressure channels are provided by Netscanner modules. Thermocouple channels are provide by Kaye isothermal reference blocks with RTD reference temperatures.  W7 also has dynamic data signal capabilities using Precision Filters for signal conditioning and Dewesoft Dewe43A data acquisition modules.

A multi-axis probe actuator control system (PACS) is available with automated profiles and integrated data recording with the ESCORT system.

The facility has a Bently Nevada 3500 Health monitoring system for monitoring the health of rotating equipment including radial vibration orbit proximity probes and accelerometers for each bearing plane. A Bently Nevada ADRE system is available for advanced health monitoring diagnostics.  The facility is also capable of utilizing APEX Turbine systems for frequency domain and Campbell diagrams for display and data recording.

The facility has numerous monitoring stations connected to a KVM matrix system that allows researchers and operators to access almost any system display at any monitoring station.

Control room space, and cable tray provision to the test cell, exists to accommodate set-up of customer-supplied instrument system hardware. Buffered once-per-rev signals, from compressor forward-end instrumentation, are available for customer data systems.  Also, a facility laser interlock system is available, if necessary, for customer laser–related systems.

W-7 System Instrumentation
System Number and Type
Electronically Scanned Pressures
768 Total Channels
192 Channels @ 0 – 30 PSIA
192 Channels @ 0 – 45 PSIA
192 Channels @ 0 – 60 PSIA
128 Channels @ 0 – 100 PSIA
64 Channels @ 0 – 250 PSIA
Thermocouple Channels
278 channels Total
123 Channels Any Type – direct connect
93 Channels Type E – Jack Panel
62 Channels Type K – Jack Panel
Analog Inputs
from 0 to +/-10 mV up to 0 to +/-10 V
157 Total Channels
31 Channels – Control Room
126 Channels – Test Cell
Dynamic Data
Signal Conditioning
Precision Filters
64 Channels
Dynamic Data
Data Acquisition
Dewesoft Dewe43A
32 Channels
Probe Actuator Control 16 Axes

Single-Stage Axial Compressor Facility (W-8)

The Single-Stage Axial Compressor Facility is used to investigate the aerodynamic performance of small-scale fans and compressors with a nominal pressure ratio of 2.5. The drive system consists of a 7,000 hp, 3,600 rpm synchronous electric drive motor and a 5.9:1 ratio gearbox, powered by the Engine Research Building (ERB) Variable Frequency system. The compressor speed can be controlled between 1,860 and 21,240 rpm. An in-line torquemeter rated for 22,000 in-lbs measures power absorbed by the research compressor. The test rig shafting is bored to provide the capability for rotating measurements using a slip ring assembly. A Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) system is used to monitor and control facility operation.

The facility atmospheric air system is sized for a maximum flow of 100 lbm/s. Air is drawn into the facility through a filtered inlet located on the roof of ERB. The air then passes through a flow measurement plane and through inlet control valves which can be used for varying inlet pressure when using the Altitude Exhaust system. Multiple flow conditioning components installed in a large plenum chamber reduce turbulence and provide smooth flow to the research compressor. The air is pressurized as it passes through the research compressor, and then flows through a single or dual sleeve throttle valve into an exhaust collector in the test cell. Air discharged from the exhaust collector is cooled by water spray injection before entering the ERB Atmosphere Exhaust system (0.8 psid) or the Central Process System (CPS) Altitude Exhaust system (20 – 26 in Hg).

A 40-psig combustion air source can also supply dry air to the facility. Combustion air passes through control valves to reduce its pressure, through a flow-measuring orifice, and then enters the piping system just downstream of the inlet control valves mentioned above.

W-8 Special Features

The COBRA data acquisition system is capable of monitoring and storing up to 384 individual channels of analog inputs.  Additional data can be read and stored digitally from external systems using a wide variety of universal communication protocols. The facility offers a digitally scanned pressure system (Netscanner) capable of transmitting up to 640 individual pressure transducer measurements.  The facility is also equipped to measure up to 214 thermocouple measurements.  A 16-axis probe actuator control system is used to automatically traverse pressure/temperature probes to obtain flow data as well as rotate and position inlet distortion screens.

W-8 Facility Capabilities
Parameter Operating value
Inlet air pressure 5-20 psia
Inlet air temperature Ambient
Inlet airflow 100 lb/s max
Atmospheric exhaust 0.8 psid blowers
Altitude exhaust 26 in. Hg vacuum
Rotor speed 14,000 or 21,240 rpm max (depending on bearing housing choice)
Rotor size 22 in. max
Drive motor 7,000 hp
W-8 System Instrumentation
System Number and Type
Netscanner (steady state pressures) 256 channels @ 0 – 30 PSIA
384 channels @ 0 – 45 PSIA
COBRA (facility data system) 384 channels @ 1 – 1200 Hz
Dewetron (facility data system) 64 channels @ 1 – 200 kHz
Thermocouples 214 Type E

Using Our Facilities

NASA’s Glenn Research Center provides ground test facilities to industry, government, and academia. If you are considering testing in one of our facilities or would like further information about a specific facility or capability, please let us know.

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