Jet Propulsion Test Cell
the in-class lecture of aeropropulsion theories with
hands-on learning experience, a student-centered effort to build a test cell
capability to run turbine engines was initiated in January 2001. The activities involve (1) assembling the
engine hardware and the test stand and (2) develop visualization front-ends for
the computer simulations of actual engine runs. Thanks to the efforts of two
generations of highly dedicated undergraduate student volunteers, a miniturbojet engine was successfully assembled in the
summer of 2003. The newly established test cell was successfully operated by
AAE466 students and passed its first major landmark in the Fall
semester of 2003. The students now have
the opportunity to experience the sight, the sound, and the smell of the
theories they learn in class. The miniturbojet engine
is the WREN 54 that delivers about 8.5lb of thrust at 160,000 RPM. The development of the test cell was
presented at the 40th AIAA/ASME/SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion
Conference and Exhibit,
Equipment Guide describes the equipment setup in the test cell.
Operator’s Guide describes the safety and the operating procedures for driving the MW54 turbjet.
Engine Run Demo (.wmv file)
A two-minute highlight of the MW54 run
with sight and SOUND.
Diameter : 89 mm (3.5 in) Length : 165 mm (6.5in) Max Static Thrust :
8.5 lbf Primary Fuel : Kerosene Idle Shaft Speed : 45,000 RPM Max Shaft Speed :
160,000 RPM Fuel Flow Rate at
Maximum RPM : 180 ml/min
Secondary Fuel : Propane (startup)
Diameter : 89 mm (3.5 in)
Length : 165 mm (6.5in)
Max Static Thrust : 8.5 lbf
Primary Fuel : Kerosene
Idle Shaft Speed : 45,000 RPM
Max Shaft Speed : 160,000 RPM
Fuel Flow Rate at
Maximum RPM : 180 ml/min
As installed in the text cell, the photo above shows the propane line (green), the clear fuel (kerosene) supply line, the hall RPM sensor (data line in red), the power supply to the glow plugs (black wires), the data line for EGT (green wire), the compress air brass tubing, thrust measurement devices, and the ¼ inch metal shield for operation safety.
Apply high temperature sealer Control Room
Apply high temperature sealer
The second part of the effort involves developing a simulation front end that can be used for both engine efficiency evaluation and the computer simulations of engine runs by using the data acquired in an actual engine run. We are using Glut in OPEN GL and the engine model has been developed using Pro/ENGINEER. The following still picture shows a cutaway cross-section of the MW54 engine that we have developed. The rotating assembly of the compressor and the turbine can rotate according to the test run data.
Diameter : 89 mm (3.5 in) §
Length : 165 mm (17in) §
Gas generator shaft speed o
Min : 45,000 RPM o
Max : 160,000 RPM §
Max Turboprop shaft speed : 7500 RPM §
Primary Fuel : Kerosene §
Secondary Fuel : Propane for startup §
Fuel flow rate at max RPM : 200 ml/min §
Max static thrust : 30 lbf §
Weight : 2.77 kg (6.1 lbf)
§ Diameter : 89 mm (3.5 in)
§ Length : 165 mm (17in)
§ Gas generator shaft speed
o Min : 45,000 RPM
o Max : 160,000 RPM
§ Max Turboprop shaft speed : 7500 RPM
§ Primary Fuel : Kerosene
§ Secondary Fuel : Propane for startup
§ Fuel flow rate at max RPM : 200 ml/min
§ Max static thrust : 30 lbf
§ Weight : 2.77 kg (6.1 lbf)
To further enrich students’ exposure to different types of turbine engines, a free turbine driven turboprop has been built recently in our test cell with purchased components and manufacturer-assembled sub-systems, such as the gear box. This addition further enhances the quality of propulsion education at WMU. The students have begun to run the new turboprop engine in Fall 2006. The data that can be acquired include thrust, fuel flow rate, prop RPM, main turbine RPM, gas temperatures at the main and the free turbine exits.
Turbine Engines in the WMU Aeropropulsion Test Cell
More data acquisition capability will be developed. A major planned activity is to build a movable test stand for the turbojet.
Student Group Leaders
Chin Hoong Leong and Jerry Jacob (Class of 2004)
Colin Mackie-Smith and Melissa Couper (Class of 2002)
Special thanks to AAE 466 Class of 2002 for helping with the initial cell setup.