Alternative fuels testing facilities

Facilities overview

As aircraft operators and manufacturers search for sustainable, safe and cost-effective alternative fuels, they enlist NRC’s help to de-risk product design and development for engines, materials, components and fuel systems.

To assess how alternative fuels will affect these types of products in real-world situations, clients rely on quality data from NRC’s state-of-the-art facilities. Beyond conventional aviation fuels, NRC has performed engine qualification tests on gas turbine engines such as the GE F404, RR/Allison T56 and GE CF-700 using fully and semi-synthetic FT and HEFA fuels.

Detailed offerings

Materials compatibility testing

Metallic materials

  • Metallic materials compatibility test: methods include ASTM D4044, microstructural and visual evaluation, corrosion

Non-metallic materials

(e.g., coatings, films, sealants, O-rings, adhesives, etc.)

  • Long-term fuel soaking, various temperatures: methods include oven-controlled environment and temperature
  • Peel strength: method SAE AS5127/1
  • Hardness, shore A, M and Pencil: method ASTM D2240, D3363
  • Tape adhesion: methods ASTM D3363, D3359
  • Tensile strength, elongation: method ASTM D412
  • Volume swell: method ASTM D471
  • Compression set: method ASTM D359
  • Lap shear: method ASTM D1002
  • Interlaminar shear: method ASTM D6272

Burner rig and material/coating analysis

Quantity of burner rigs: 2 Becon high-velocity rigs
Maximum gas temperature: 1600 oC (approximately 2900 oF)
Maximum gas velocity: Mach 0.8
Fuel types: standard jet fuels and marine diesel fuel
Testing capabilities:

  • Cyclic oxidation, hot corrosion, hot erosion
  • High-velocity cooling available for both external and internal cooling
  • Controlled amounts of contaminants can be added to the fuel or combustion air for hot erosion investigations
  • Controlled amounts of solid particles can be added to the combustion gases for high-temperature erosion studies

High-pressure spray rig testing

Maximum pressure: 4.5 kg/s air delivery @ 20 bar (approximately 10 lb/s @ 300 psia)
Testing capabilities:

  • Optically accessible single injector sector rig
  • Spray characterization, flow number, drop sizing and velocity, laser sheet imaging
  • Laser diagnostics (PDPA, PIV, Malvern)
  • 3D traverse system

Combustor rig testing

Maximum flow rates: 21.5 kg/s @ 20 bar (47.5 lb/s @ 300 psia)
Air preheating capability: 647 oC @ 18 kg/s (1200 oF @ 40 lb/s)
Fuel types: natural gas, diesel, Jet A-1
Testing capabilities:

  • Four (4) combustion test cells
  • More than 1000 standard and high scan-rate channels
  • Measurement suite for gas turbine gaseous and particulate matter emissions
  • High-pressure, optically accessible combustion rig

Cold start, altitude re-light, emissions and APU testing

Working section dimensions, length x internal diameter: 9.7 m (31.8 ft) x 2.6 m (8.5 ft)
Maximum flow rate: 11.2 kg/s (24.6 lb/s)
Minimum altitude, with refrigerated air: 914 m (3000 ft)
Maximum altitude: 15 760 m (51 700 ft)
Ambient minimum altitude, non-refrigerated moist air: 91 m (300 ft)
Minimum temperature @ flow rate of 0.23 kg/s (0.5 lb/s): -48.3 oC (-55 oF)
Minimum temperature @ flow rate of 4.5 kg/s (10 lb/s): -25.3 oC (-13 oF) or with liquid nitrogen -35 oC (-31 oF)
Heated inlet air @ flow rate of 1.8 kg/s (4 lb/s): +48 oC (+118 oF)
Testing capabilities:

  • 1000+ channels for analog inputs @ 50 Hz
  • 100+ channels @ 100 Hz
  • Gaseous and PM emissions measurement capability
  • Capability to handle turbofan, turbojet, auxiliary power unit, etc.

Full-engine testing for operability, performance, endurance and emissions

Test cell 1 (TC1)

  • Engine type: turboshaft/jet
  • Dimensions: 4.6 m (15 ft) x 4.6 m (15 ft) x 10.7 m (35 ft)
  • Thrust/power: 4000 SHP at 4500 rpm
  • Air flow: 50 kg/s (110 lb/s)
  • Inlet: heated 32.2 oC (90 oF) at 9.1 kg/s (20 lb/s)
  • Typical testing: Alternative fuels, blade-off, emissions, endurance
  • Design and correlation: SAE AIR 4989, SAE ARP 4755

Test cell 2 (TC2)

  • Engine type: turboshaft/jet
  • Dimensions: 4.6 m (15 ft) x 4.6 m (15 ft) x 10.7 m (35 ft)
  • Thrust/power: 9000 SHP at 3600 rpm
  • Air flow: 50 kg/s (110 lb/s)
  • Inlet: ambient
  • Typical testing: Alternative fuels, blade-off, emissions, endurance
  • Design and correlation: SAE AIR 4989, SAE ARP 4755

Test cell 4 (TC4)

Engine Test Cell 4, part of NRC’s Gas Turbine Laboratory

Engine Test Cell 4, part of NRC’s Gas Turbine Laboratory

  • Engine type: turbofan/jet
  • Dimensions: 7.6 m (25 ft) x 7.6 m (25 ft) x 22.9 m (75 ft)
  • Thrust/power: 222 kN (50 000 lb)
  • Air flow: 454 kg/s (1000 lb/s)
  • Inlet: ambient with icing tunnel
  • Typical testing: Alternative fuels, icing, emissions, endurance
  • Design and correlation: SAE AIR 4869, SAE ARP 741

Test cell 5 (TC5)

  • Engine type: turbofan/jet
  • Dimensions: 4.6 m (15 ft) x 4.6 m (15 ft) x 22.9 m (75 ft)
  • Thrust/power: 222 kN (50 000 lb)
  • Air flow: 227 kg/s (500 lb/s)
  • Inlet: ambient with icing tunnel
  • Typical testing: Icing, hail, bird, water ingestion, endurance
  • Design and correlation: SAE AIR 4869, SAE ARP 741

The following capabilities are available for all NRC Aerospace’s engine test cells:

  • Emissions measurement (gaseous and particulate matter) is available in any test cell
  • 1000+ channel DAS & 36 channels high-speed DAS in all test cells
  • Conventional and alternative fuels (including biofuels) at flow rates up to 32 500 kg/h (71 500 lb/h)
  • 3 working and 4 storage fuel tanks at 40 000 litre (10 567 US gal) capacity

In-flight testing

The National Research Council of Canada's Falcon 20 became the World's first civil aircraft to fly with 100% bio jet fuel.

The National Research Council of Canada's Falcon 20 became the World's first civil aircraft to fly with 100% bio jet fuel.

Dassault Falcon 20 aircraft

Engines: GE CF700 turbofan and twin engine
Testing capabilities:

  • Separate feeder tanks allow different fuels to be selected
  • On-board data acquisition system

Canadair CT-133 (T-33)

Engines: Rolls-Royce Nene turbojet and twin engine
Testing capabilities:

  • High performance (500 KIAS), high G (-3 to +7.33), fully instrumented research aircraft
  • Used as chase plane for in-flight emissions measurement of aircraft exhaust, including black carbon, reactive nitrogen (NOy) and aerosols (CN)

PORT HAARC pod: LII200 BC sensor (20 Hz) and isokinetic sampling system
Aircraft nose:

  • LICOR 840A CO2 and water vapour (10 Hz)
  • FIRNS inertial reference and navigation (sampling at 600 Hz)
  • Airdata boom, measuring static and total pressure, total air temperature, 600 Hz
  • Ion detector array

STARBOARD HAARC pod:

  • 7610 CN counter, >10 nm (10 Hz) and isokinetic sampling system
  • Environment Canada/NRC flask system for methane, VOC, N2O and gaseous sampling system
  • Thermo 42I NOx analyser, operated in the NOy (1 Hz) mode for the majority of nitrogen oxides in the ‘fresh’ exhaust being NO, HONO and other nitrogen oxide compounds
  • FSSP-300 or -100 for ice particle measurements

De Havilland DHC-6 Twin Otter

Engines: Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-27 turboprop and twin engine
Testing capabilities:

  • High-wing STOL aircraft capable of 2–3 hour operations with a moderate amount of instrumentation

Contact us

Contact us to discuss how NRC can help fulfill your research and technology needs through our fee-for-service testing, consulting, collaborative research agreements and licensing arrangements.

Dean Flanagan, Client Relationship Leader
Telephone: 613-990-8319
Email: Dean.Flanagan@nrc-cnrc.gc.ca
LinkedIn: Matthew Tobin

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