This paper describes the extension in capability of the Engine Component AeroThermal (ECAT) facility at the University of Oxford. The ECAT facility is an established, high technology readiness level facility for research and development of aeroengine components, particularly high-pressure turbine nozzle guide vanes (NGVs). The original facility is capable of matching Mach number, Reynolds number and coolant-to-mainstream pressure ratio to engine conditions. It is also possible to use a combustor simulator module to match combustor exit temperature and swirl profiles.

It was desired to further increase the capability of the facility to match engine mainstream-to-coolant temperature ratio (TR), achieved by increasing the mainstream inlet temperature to 600 K. This required: a new high temperature air feed and exhaust system with all the associated compressor plant and air heating systems; a new test section capable of high temperature operation; a new control system; and new high-temperature-rated instrumentation. The facility operates in a semi-transient mode, with air stored at 50 bar (g) and 600 K in three large air receivers. The air is released in a controlled manner through the test section, allowing test times over 100s in duration. This presents a particular challenge for the thermomechanical design of the test section, due to rapid heating of components leading to high transient thermal stress.

The extended facility (referred to as ECAT+) has been successfully commissioned and an initial test campaign undertaken. The facility design, results from the commissioning tests and operating envelope are described within the paper. These results demonstrate the new facility meets all of the operating requirements for high TRL research and product development. The results showed very good agreement with a low order transient system model which was used throughout the design process. It is anticipated that details of the design, and the design process itself, will be of interest to other developers of high TRL facilities.

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