Aviation Fuels Thermal Stability Test Unit
|The thermal stability of fuels is a key concern for the aviation sector and testing at a range of scales in line with fuel availability is crucial to being able to assess the interaction between fuel and fuel system
hardware economically. The LCCC has a unique mix of experimental and modelling techniques at a range of scales which are essential for assessing thermal stability issues. The Aviation Fuel Thermal Stability Test Rig (AFTSTU) is a simulated system, requiring around 7000 litres of fuel per test. This scale allows the testing of real engine events using real engine components such as filters and feed arms. One of only three similar rigs in the world, the others
being owned by the USAF and US Navy, the AFTSTU rig offers a TRL (Technology Readiness Level) 5 testing of the fuel and fuel system for an aviation gas turbine under engine representative thermal loadings up to the point of fuel atomisation. The rig provides information for engine manufacturers on the performance of new fuel system builds, fuel producers on the performance of alternative fuels, fuel blends or additive packages, all without the cost and risk of a full engine test bed run. The rig has been used for various test programmes including European alternative fuels programme (ALFABIRD), European engine development programme (TECCAE) and in collaboration with various companies including Rolls Royce, Shell, BP, Sasol and QER.
The rig can be used to study improvements in engine components, new thermal operating conditions, system interaction between fuel and fuel components and the effect of fuel thermal stability additives.