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Turbomachinery Facilities

Turbine Facilities – CE-18

Small Engine Components Compressor Test Facility

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-18Facility 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
ESP 96 Ports of +/- 15 PSID
224 Ports of +/- 30 PSID
128 Ports of +/- 100 PSID
Barometric Ref
Escort 352 Channels
302 Available to the Customer
Thermocouples 144 Type K
25 TC used for facility

Turbine Facilities – SE-17

Wave Rotor Experiment Test Facility

The SE-17 Wave Rotor Experiment Test Facility combines the functions of a compressor and turbine in one unit. Instead of using blades to add or remove energy from the flow, it uses compression and expansion waves, traveling in passages on the rotor. It is intended to be used as a “turbocharger” for gas turbine engines, boosting the compression ratio. Air from the engine compressor would enter the wave rotor, and be compressed by waves to about three times its original pressure. Exiting the wave rotor, it would then pass to a combustor, and be heated. Returning to the wave rotor, it would lose pressure in expansion waves, providing the energy required to compress the incoming air in the process. The advantage of a wave rotor is that the rotor “sees” both cold and hot gases, and reaches a temperature somewhat between the two, whereas in a gas turbine engine the turbine “sees” the hot gas from the combustor directly, and attains a temperature close to that of the gas leaving the combustor. In a conventional combustor, the gas leaving the combustor is a lower pressure than the entering air. The gas leaving the wave rotor is at higher pressure that the entering air. As a result, calculations have shown that the engine incorporating the wave rotor may have a specific power up to 19% higher than the base engine, with specific fuel consumption about 15% lower.

SE-17 Special Features

The performance of thermal engines usually depends on temperature ratios rather than absolute values. Operating at reduced inlet temperatures allows reasonable high temperatures for a given temperature ratio. This is true for the wave rotor, and SE-17 is equipped with a chilled air supply at -60°F. Heating of the compressed air is performed by a 350 kW electric heater. The exhaust gases are sent to the altitude exhaust system. Most of the data are pressure readings, which are processed by an electronic scanning system, and stored in Escort. Temperatures are read by thermocouples, with the readings also stored in Escort.

SE-17 Facility Capabilities
Parameter Operating value
Inlet air pressure 40 psig/10 psig
Inlet air temperature -40 to 200 °F
Inlet airflow 2 lb/s
Altitude exhaust 26 in. hg
Rotor speed 2000-12000 r/min
Heater 330kW1200 °F
SE-17 System Instrumentation
System Number and Type
ESP 320 Ports of +/- 45 PSID
Barometric Ref
Escort 192 Channels
132 Available to the Customer
Thermocouples 94 Type K
2 Type T

Turbine Facilities – W-1A

Low Speed Compressor Facility

This unique facility provides for an increased understanding of the complex flow phenomena within the curved centrifugal channels and multi-stage axial compressors. W-1A can be configured with either a 5-ft diameter centrifugal or a 4-ft diameter axial 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, 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, described later, 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 speed (centrif/ax) 60/48 in.
Drive motor 1500hp
W-1A System Instrumentation
System Number and Type
ESP 192 Ports of +/- 15 PSID
32 Ports of +/- 5 PSID
Barometric Ref
Escort 256 Channels
112 Available to the Customer
Thermocouples 96 Type E

Turbine Facilities – W-5B

Transonic Oscillating Cascade Facility

The W-5B test rig is used to experimentally investigate the unsteady aerodynamics of advanced fan configurations over a wide range of incidence angles. The data obtained are used to evaluate existing unsteady aerodynamic prediction schemes and provide direction for advanced modeling efforts. The facility includes a linear cascade of nine airfoils with simultaneous torsional blade oscillation through 1.2 degrees amplitude at adjustable interblade phase angles, adjustable inlets, tailboards, a boundary layer bleed, and a conditioner inlet. Air enters from an atmospheric roof vent, passes through the research package that has a large schlieren window, and exits into the central altitude exhaust system. The rig has the capabilities of adjusting the geometry of the cascade (inlet and tailboard angles), and boundary layer flows for obtaining periodic flow in the cascade.

W-5B Special Features

Schlieren photography and video are used to record the stall flutter of fan and compressor cascade hardware. W-5B has a 128-analog-channel ESCORT-D system, a 160-channel ESP pressure measurement system, a 3-axis actuator system, a 40-channel strain gauge signal conditioner, a 21-channel VHS format FM tape recorder, a 48-channel thermocouple reference block and a 6-channel frequency/dc converter.

W-5B Facility Capabilities
Parameter Operating value
Air velocity To 950 ft/s
Test blades Up to 9
Flutter frequency To 650 Hz
Torsional displace. To 1.2 deg
Inlet air pressure Atmospheric
Inlet air temperature Ambient
Inlet airflow 20 lb/s
Altitude exhaust 26 in. hg
W-5B System Instrumentation
System Number and Type
ESP 160 Ports of +/- 15 PSID
Barometric Ref
Escort 128 Channels
74 Available to the Customer
Thermocouples 18 Type E
30 Type K

Turbine Facilities – W-6A

Warm Core Turbine Facility

This facility was reactivated and became operational in mid-1994. With its enhanced capabilities, this turbine rig is being used to assess advanced turbine design features and improve the fundamental understanding of the dominant flow phenomena in multistage, high pressure (HP) axial turbines. W-6A receives 55-psia air, which is heated by natural-gas fired combustors, drives the research turbine and exits through a torus into the altitude exhaust system. Electrically heated secondary air provides simulated coolant bleeds at desired temperature ratios, including provisions for supply flows that control shroud growth and rotor clearances. Data from detailed flow-field measurements, unsteady effects, and interaction effects provide better understanding of the flow physics through a multistage turbine and provide a data base to use in CFD code validation.

W-6A Special Features

The turbine shaft output power is absorbed with a direct-drive eddy current dynamometer, which also controls the speed. The shaft is bored in order to provide the capability for rotating measurements using a 100-channel slip ring. The dynamometer is rated at 3,000 hp at 5,000 to 17,000 rpm. 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 26 in. hgvacuum max
Rotor speed 17 000 rpm max
Rotor size 40-in. diameter
Dynamometer 3000 hp, 36 000 in./lb
Torquemeter 30 000 in./lb
W-6A System Instrumentation
System Number and Type
ESP 384 Ports of +/- 15 PSID
160 Ports of +/- 30 PSID
32 Ports of +/1 100 PSID
Barometric Ref
Escort 256 Channels
186 Available to the Customer
Thermocouples 120 Type K
186 Type E
24 Type J
150 Universal Type

Turbine Facilities – W-7

High Speed Multistage Compressor Facility

W-7 is currently configured as the High Speed Multistage Compressor Facility in support of testing experimental compressors and fans.

The facility components to support this testing include a 15,000 hp synchronous drive motor capable of operation between 300 and 3,600 rpm and a 5.21:1 ratio gearbox resulting in a maximum compressor shaft speed of 18,756 rpm.

Inlet air for a test package can be supplied by several means. Atmospheric air can be drawn from the roof of the facility or pressurize air can be supplied from either the combustion air supply system (25 psig @ 90 lbm/s – nominally ambient temperature) or the refrigerated air system (10 psig @ 76 lbm/s – down to approx. 0 oF). After introduction to the cell inlet piping, the air passes through an orifice flow meter, coarse and fine metering valves, and the plenum tank for flow conditioning prior to entering the test article.

Air is exhausted through a collector and discharged either to an atmospheric vent or to a low vacuum blower (approx. 13 psia) or to the centralized altitude exhaust (approx. 2 psia vacuum) system. Maximum altitude exhaust flow is 100 lbm/s. Vacuum connections are available for boundary layer bleed independent of compressor flow control.

Typical test article data acquisition capabilities existing in the test cell include total and static pressure measurements via an multiplexed pressure transducer system and temperature measurements via thermocouples. Other data acquisition techniques are available on a test specific basis, such as; hot wire anemometry and laser data techniques. Data is displayed and recorded on a central ESCORT data collection system and/or local data acquisition system depending on the sensor device.

W-7 Facility Capabilities
Parameter Operating value
Inlet air pressure Atm to 20 psig
Inlet air temperature -30 to 100°F
Inlet airflow 95 lb/s
Atmospheric exhaust .8 psid blowers
Altitude exhaust 26 in. Hg (vacuum)
Rotor speed 18,700 r/min
Rotor size 20 to 22 in.
Drive motor 15,000 hp
W-7 System Instrumentation
System Number and Type
ESP 192 Ports of +/- 15 PSID
96 Ports of +/- 30 PSID
96 Ports of +/- 100 PSID
Barometric Ref
Escort 128 Channels
78 Available to the Customer
Thermocouples 72 Type E
96 Type K
24 Type J
48 Universal Type
Other Information Temp measurement uncertainty reduction system

Turbine Facilities – W-8

Single-Stage Axial Compressor Facility

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 electric drive motor and a 7,000 hp speed-increasing gearbox with a gear ratio of 5.9, 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 100 channel slip ring. A Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) system is used to monitor and control facility operation.

The facility air system is sized for a maximum flow of 100 pps. Atmospheric air is drawn into the facility through an inlet located on the roof of ERB. The air passes through a filter, through a flow measuring orifice plate, through inlet control valves, and into the plenum chamber. Mobile flow conditioning hardware installed in the plenum tank is designed to reduce turbulence and provide smooth flow to the research compressor. The air gets pressurized as it passes through the research compressor, and then passes through a sleeve throttle valve into an exhaust collector in the test cell. Air discharged from the exhaust collector is cooled by water spray injection in a spray cooler tank located in the basement of ERB. Finally, air is directed to the ERB Atmosphere Exhaust system or the Central Process System (CPS) Altitude Exhaust system. The inlet air line is equipped with a polystyrene latex sphere seeding system required for laser anemometry, which is used to map the flow field and validate Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) computer codes. A 40 psig combustion air line also supplies air to the facility. This air supply was designed to provide dry air to the facility, which is required during laser anemometry testing. Combustion air passes through control valves to reduce its pressure, through a flow-measuring orifice, and then enters the plenum chamber.

W-8 Special Features

The ESCORT D data acquisition system handles 404 channels of analog data inputs. An Electronic Scan Pressure (ESP) system with eighteen 32 port sensor modules provides up to 540 pressure measurements. A 16 axis probe actuator control system is used to automatically traverse pressure/temperature probes to obtain flow data. Detailed velocity measurements of the complex compressor flow fields are obtained using a Laser Doppler Velocimetry (LDV) system. The facility is also equipped to measure up to 240 temperature data points.

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 max
Rotor speed 20,600 rpm max
Rotor size 22 in. max
Drive motor 7,000 hp max
W-8 System Instrumentation
System Number and Type
ESP 128 Ports – +/- 5 PSID
256 Ports – +/- 30 PSID
Barometric Ref
Escort 404 Channels
Thermocouples 272 Type E
20 Type K

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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