Arc heater study saves money for AEDC

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Arnold Engineering Development Complex (AEDC) engineers performed a study during the Mid-Pressure Arc Heater (MPAH) upgrade project that led to saving about US$3 million for the AEDC.

The MPAH project is a Central Test and Evaluation Investment effort to upgrade the materials test capability of the H2 Arc Heater Altitude Test Cell at the Complex. Though initial calculations showed the MPAH upgrades would exceed the existing transformer’s maximum load, a study performed by electrical engineers Howard Frederick and Tony Acklen determined it would support the load and not need to be replaced.

Frederick explained the 161kV transformer refurbishment, which began in 2009, served as a catalyst for the review of the transformer and credits it for leading to this savings.

“In that project, the transformer’s cooling system was restored to original condition,” he said.

Martin Johnson, Air Force electrical asset manager who launched the 161kV transformer refurbishment project said, “There are ten 161kV transformers at AEDC that are over 60 years old.”

A transformer for the Engine Test Facility was refurbished first, then when one of the transformers for the Propulsion Wind Tunnel facility experienced an operational failure, then the remaining nine were refurbished.

“The transformers now have solid state controls and are connected to a new Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system with fiber optic,” Johnson said. “The old SCADA was a computer that was a 1986 version.”

There are thirty 161kV transformers on Arnold Air Force Base and it takes some research to decide on how to best meet any changes regarding power.

“The age old question at AEDC seems to be where to get power for large new equipment,” said Johnson.

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With over 20 years experience in editorial management and content creation for multiple, market-leading titles at UKi Media & Events (publisher of Aerospace Testing International), one of the UK's fastest growing publishing companies, Anthony has written articles and news covering everything from aircraft, airports and cars, to cruise ships, trains, trucks and even tires!

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