Engine Component Aerothermal Facility

Investigators: Professor Tom Povey, Dr Roderick Lubbock, Ben Kirollos

Sponsor: Rolls-Royce Turbines.

A new semi-transient technique has been developed to allow turbine designers to measure for a full annulus of engine parts:

  • Vane component metal effectiveness (similar to thermal-paint test results)
  • Vane capacity to a precision accuracy of 0.02%
  • Component aerodynamic loss at the correct M and Re

The facility uses a full annulus of engine parts and operates at the correct engine conditions of Mach number, Reynolds number and mainstream-to-cooling-flow pressure ratio. The technique offers order-of-magnitude savings over the continuously-running approach, because it removes the need for large and very costly compressor plant. It has been demonstrated by experiment, however, that the semi-transient technique delivers the same accuracy as can be achieved using a continuously-running facility. For metal effectiveness measurements the facility operates with 2 MW of heating, for a period of approximately 60 seconds. ECAT CAD

The working section has been designed to allow rapid rebuilding of components, to allow both fundamental research (effect of blowing ratio on aerodynamic loss, etc.) and support  of engine design programmes. During a test, approximately 1,000 kg of air (stored at room temperature in a high-pressure reservoir) is allowed to flow though the turbine cascade, achieving a peak mass flow rate of approximately 30 kg s-1. The design Mach number and coolant-to-mainstream pressure ratio can be controlled during the test. A test typically lasts 60 seconds. Unlike in a continuously-running facility, where total pressure and temperature are constant during an experiment, during a semi-transient test, pressure and temperature continually fall during the experiment.


Metal effectiveness measurements are made possible with infra-red cameras located inside the pressure housing of the facility.

metal effectivness