Exploring New Limits

May 26, 2016

With funding from an Air Force Phase-II Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) program called Highly Simulative Subscale Testing (HSST), Test Devices engineers are developing methods to spin test discs at very high temperatures and with very large temperature gradients. Test Devices has demonstrated the ability to heat the rim of a disc to well over 2000°F while maintaining the bore at room temperature.

This program is aimed at providing tools for use in the development of cutting-edge materials and designs: advanced superalloys, hybrid concepts, ceramic matrix composites (CMC’s), and advanced coatings. In addition to extreme-temperature capability, another HSST goal is to simultaneously apply environments containing oxidizing or corrosive gas species produced in the combustion process.

The capability developed in the HSST program will aid the aviation and aerospace industries to develop the next generation of materials and critical component designs for ever more efficient engines. The Test Devices team is well on its way to testing the first prototype in late 2016 and to refining and commissioning the testing capability in 2017.

Building on the success of HSST, Test Devices is also pursuing funding for a program called HEAT (Hot Environmental Airfoil Testing) to test CMC turbine blades and EBC coatings at relevant operating temperatures and in the presence of certain oxidizing species (H2O). When completed, HEAT will provide the capability to test actual CMC turbine blades under the most realistic mechanical, thermal and environmental conditions possible outside of an actual engine test.HEAT offers a significantly economical and valuable option for the aerospace community.

Combined with our optical strain measurement technique, the capabilities developed under HSST and HEAT will provide significant value to the industry for innovating the next generations of turbine engines.