Element’s Florida laboratory to get US$1m upgrade

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Testing services supplier Element Materials Technology is investing more than US$1million in pneumatics, dynamics, projectile impact and hot fuel testing at its Jupiter, Florida laboratory.

The upgrades aim to provide customers with faster turnaround times, greater efficiency, and the capability to accommodate a more diverse range of test samples and test conditions to allow for technical analysis.

The recent procurement of a high-capacity, 400-horsepower electric compressor expands the boundaries of the laboratories 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 lbs-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. Reaching beyond aerospace, the shaker can be utilized for testing products from other sectors, including transportation, oil & gas, and medical.

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 and with a new projectile impact pneumatic canon. This canon can be used to shoot a variety of items, including birds of 1.5 to 8 lbs, hail of 0.5 to 2.75in in 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, executive vice president of the Americas at Element said, “The Jupiter laboratory is a center of excellence for highly engineered testing, including hydraulic and pneumatic test simulation, and is a critical service-and-solution provider for aerospace, defense, 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”

 

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Ben has worked as a journalist and editor, covering almost all aspects of technology, engineering and industry for the last 20 years. Initially writing about subjects from nuclear submarines to autonomous cars to future design and manufacturing technologies, he was editor of a leading UK-based engineering magazine before eventually becoming editor of Aerospace Testing in 2017.

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