The Air Force Research Laboratory Turbine Research Facility is a transient blowdown facility that allows simultaneous measurement of unsteady heat transfer and aerodynamics on full scale engine hardware. It is unique for its size and consequent blowdown duration. Compared to engine validation testing, full scale, short duration turbine-rig testing is able to provide very large amounts of rotating turbine flowfield information using far less energy, orders of magnitude lower cost, and greater instrumentation selection.
This paper provides an updated review of the facility’s history, operation, and enhancements since its initial construction over two decades ago. Historical connections to pioneering work in short-duration turbine heat transfer testing are highlighted, and an overview of past developments, features, and capabilities is given. More recent experimental and computational integration is described using a suite of in-house developed CFD design and analysis tools. Example test programs include a non-proprietary 1+ 1/2 stage research turbine rig, which is the most heavily instrumented high pressure turbine tested in the facility to date.. Recent data illustrates the character of unsteady airfoil shock interactions that may lead to large levels of resonant stress or turbine high cycle fatigue. The paper ends with a brief discussion of future work.