Element invests in Florida lab aerospace testing capabilities

Posted on 20 October, 2020 by Advance 

Element Materials Technology (Element) has increased its aerospace testing capabilities with significant investments of more than US$1 million in pneumatics, dynamics, projectile impact and hot fuel testing at its Jupiter, Florida laboratory.

Image courtesy Element

These investments provide customers with faster turnaround times, greater efficiency and the ability to accommodate a larger and more diverse range of test samples and test conditions to allow for more highly technical analysis.

The recent procurement of a high-capacity, 400-horsepower electric compressor expands the boundaries of Element’s current pneumatics testing offering, providing a more extreme range of temperature, flow and pressure for its test programs. Tests such as bleed air simulation; leakage and pressure drop; and design for life endurance, can be applied at the component system level. In the aerospace sector, this includes environmental control systems, heat exchangers and bleed air components, while in renewables it supports the development of more efficient turbine engines.

The laboratory’s acquisition of a 44,000 pound-force electrodynamic shaker is the largest in Element’s fleet of shakers worldwide. Its size accommodates bigger and heavier loads, including whole rocket engines or entire aircraft cabin systems, and a combined thermal and dynamics environment can be achieved on this system using a specially designed, adjustable environmental chamber. This, coupled with a three-inch displacement capability, can accommodate most current engine windmilling, fan blade off and tire burst testing requirements.

In addition, two new hot fuel cells have been added to the laboratory. These cells allow testing of fuel components or systems at high temperature and high pressure, utilising state of the art safety and a new projectile impact pneumatic canon has been procured as well. This canon can be used to shoot a variety of items, including birds (simulated and real) of 1.5 to 8 pounds; hail (simulated and real) of 0.5 to 2.75 inch diameter; gravel and stone; drones; and metal fragments. Most recently, this facility was used for testing ballistic material that lines a large commercial turbine engine.

Rick Sluiters, EVP Americas at Element, said: “The Jupiter laboratory is a centre of excellence for highly engineered testing, including hydraulic and pneumatic test simulation and is a critical service-and-solution provider for aerospace, defence, nuclear and other industries, both locally and worldwide. These investments are part of a larger plan to grow the laboratory’s offering, which ranges from providing increased capacity and more technical services, to moving some facilities indoors for customer comfort and improving infrastructure to reduce customer set-up costs.

“The addition of the compressor, shaker, hot fuel cells and projectile impact canon, with their significantly increased capabilities, is another step forward in furthering our technical offering for customers across multiple sectors and solidifies our place as a leader in the North American market.”