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 SOUTHWEST RESEARCH INSTITUTE

U.S. ARMY TARDEC Fuels & Lubricants Research Facility

 
 

On-Site Facilities

 
 

SwRI scientists and engineers perform standardized tests on a wide variety of fuel filters. This fuel/water separator test stand is used to evaluate the effect of fuel additives on a filter’s ability to remove water from the fuel.

A number of special facilities are either housed within the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) laboratories at SwRI or are readily available to TARDEC facility staff as needed.

 

    Turbine Combustion Capabilities

The TARDEC facility houses a unique turbine combustion capability sized around the Army T-63 gas turbine engine to:

  • Support turbine combustion research focused on fuel impacts on emissions and combustion system component durability

  • Simulate the combustion section of the T-63 or other small gas turbines, or can run sectors from larger engines

An outgrowth from the combustor work is a series of bench-scale facilities for assessing the formation of fuel-derived deposits on turbine engine atomizers and other fuel system components. Fuel-derived deposits are the leading cause of turbine engine overhaul, and the facility has developed a number of techniques to assess the propensity of fuels to form deposits and to evaluate engine hardware for deposition tendencies.

 

  

  The diesel engine test facility houses individual test cells that are used to test engines ranging from 100 hp to 800 hp.
 

The diesel engine test facility houses individual test cells that are used to test engines ranging from 100 hp to 800 hp.

  Diesel Fuel Injection System Test Stands

In addition to gasoline engine test stands, the TARDEC facility houses a number of diesel fuel injection system test stands to evaluate the impact of the following on injection system wear:

  • Low lubricity fuels

  • Fuel additives

  • Alternative fuel formulations

Using a number of bench wear test devices as well as full-scale engine hardware, the laboratory is continuing to conduct research on fuel lubricity and other fuel issues affecting diesel fuel injection system durability. Fluid filtration is becoming increasingly critical to engine durability as a result of high-pressure injection systems. Filtration for both ground and aviation vehicle systems is particularly critical for military operations in high dust environments.

 

The TARDEC facility maintains capabilities for assessing the performance of fuel filters and water separators, including an SwRI-owned facility for assessing pipeline scale filtration performance.

 

  The diesel engine facility is a unique resource where a highly trained and experienced staff perform integrated fuels, lubricants and engine systems research and development programs involving combustion, performance characterization, engine cleanliness, vulnerability assessments and tribology.   Since 1949, Southwest Research Institute has been engaged in automotive-related research and has become a recognized global leader in automotive research and development for both government and industrial clients.
 

The diesel engine facility is a unique resource where a highly trained and experienced staff perform integrated fuels, lubricants and engine systems research and development programs involving combustion, performance characterization, engine cleanliness, vulnerability assessments and tribology.

 

Since 1949, Southwest Research Institute has been engaged in automotive-related research and has become a recognized global leader in automotive research and development for both government and industrial clients.

Diesel Engine Test Facility

The Armed Services' need for engineering support in fuels and lubricants for their growing fleet of military vehicles and related ground support equipment was the impetus for establishing the facility. The capabilities parallel, on a smaller scale, the commercial capabilities available at SwRI.

 

As the partnership between the Army and SwRI evolved, the Army increasingly has depended on SwRI's commercial facilities for the more standardized evaluations, and the TARDEC facility has become more focused on custom projects.

 

Alternative and Renewable-Based Fuels and Lubricants

SwRI scientists have been researching the development of green fuels and their applications for both ground vehicle and aviation use.

 

Biodiesel is a renewable fuel made from the oils of plants such as algae, soybeans, canola and palm, as well as from animal fats. It is typically blended with petroleum-based diesel fuels and is non-toxic and biodegradable. For more information about biodiesel development, visit biodiesel.swri.org.

 

With rising costs and dwindling sources for petroleum fuels, use of renewable fuel sources in the aviation industry is of growing interest. Extensive research is being done to find suitable fuels for future aviation use. SwRI is conducting studies in the areas of synthetic paraffins and kerosenes. For more information about the facility's alternative fuels, fluids, and lubricants development capabilities, visit altfuels.swri.org.

 

  image of SwRI aviation fuel filter test facilities
 

Aviation jet fuel filtration test facility

     API Test Facility

For more than 40 years, SwRI has conducted aviation fuel research and testing, continually improving capabilities, facilities and equipment.  The TARDEC facility has full and open access to SwRI's aviation jet fuel filtration test facility, which is currently the only independent and unbiased source for developing and evaluating aviation fuel filtration systems.

 

For more information about the TARDEC facility at SwRI or how you can contract with the TARDEC facility or SwRI, contact Gary Bessee at gbessee@swri.org or (210) 522-6941.

 

tardec.swri.org

 

Contact Information

Gary Bessee

U.S. Army TARDEC Fuels & Lubricants Research Facility

(210) 522-6941

gbessee@swri.org

tardec.swri.org

Related Terminology

fuel research

lubricant research

U.S. Army TARDEC

government-owned contractor-operated

GOCO

TACOM

fire resistant technology

biodiesel fuel technology

hydrogen technology

filtration and fine particle technology

synthetic jet fuel

fuel nozzles

fuels and fluids

fuel and lubricant

SwRI

aviation fuel filters

independent research lab

Related Links

Fuels and Lubricants Technology Department


 

Video

 

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U.S. Army TARDEC Fuels and Lubricants (TFLRF) Brochure


Fuels and Lubricants Technology Dept.

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Southwest Research Institute® (SwRI®), headquartered in San Antonio, Texas, is a multidisciplinary, independent, nonprofit,

applied engineering and physical sciences research and development organization with 10 technical divisions.

August 07, 2014