Altitude Environmental Chamber (AEC)

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Description

The Altitude Environmental Chamber (AEC) is an altitude chamber capable of testing small engines for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and other applications. The facility is capable of simulation testing from Sea Level to 20,000 feet of uninstalled engines utilizing dynamometers and/or thrust tables for performance measurements. The chamber is also capable of free stream testing of complete propulsion system installations. The chamber size is 10 feet wide by 10 feet high by 15 feet long.

The test cell environment and dynamometer loadings are computer controlled enabling rapid changes of conditions thereby simulating climbs, dives and changes in velocity. Dynamometer loadings have been programmed to be a function of the simulated environment and/or engine output shaft speed. Loadings can simulate aircraft fixed pitch and variable pitch propeller performance as well as loads simulating land and sea motor vehicles. Power absorption of the dynamometers is limited only by the cooling water capacity, which is 4,000 horsepower. Ranges of dynamometer speeds, torques and inertias can be tailored to the specific application. Cooling is available for simulation testing by means of liquid to liquid heat exchangers for liquid cooled engines and high capacity blowers for air-cooled engines.

An adjacent control room supports remote operation, control devices, instrumentation, measurement and monitoring of all parameters, and real-time data recording (automated data acquisition). In general, recorded data is tailored to specific requirements and may include cell environmental conditions, test article torques, speeds, thrusts, air, oil and fuel flows, critical system temperatures, pressures and vibrations. Performance calculations and diagnostics are performed online during testing.

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