Southwest Research Institute® (SwRI®) NewsPrinter Friendly Version
New, state-of-the-art coolant chiller system provides deep-thermal shock and engine durability tests
San Antonio, Texas -- May 3, 2002 -- A state-of-the-art coolant chiller system, designed specifically for Southwest Research Institute® (SwRI®), is available for engine durability and reliability testing, including deep-thermal shock tests. The chiller, unique in size, provides expanded testing capabilities to industry.
"In addition to operating a single engine through a deep-thermal shock cycle, there is also capacity in the coolant chiller for other laboratory uses such as low-temperature intake air cooling for high altitude simulations and low-temperature after-cooling for special projects," said Bob Burrahm, Spark Ignition Engines Section manager in the Engine and Vehicle Research Division. "We use the chiller to perform deep-thermal shock tests, which force an engine or an engine component to endure the thermal conditions it would experience in its lifetime, condensed into a few days of testing."
The coolant supply in the chiller can be set as low as -30° C (-20° F). SwRI can perform deep-thermal shock tests to meet industry standards set by Ford, General Motors, and other automotive manufacturers. The chiller can also be used for specialty durability testing and performance mapping. Cold-start testing is accomplished in a low-temperature enclosure capable of -32° C (-25° F).
The Institute is one of a few laboratories in the nation equipped to handle deep-thermal shock testing. While testing ranges from lawn mower to heavy-duty diesel engines, staff members also focus on components such as cylinder heads, head gaskets, exhaust manifolds, exhaust manifold gaskets, and water pumps.
For more than 30 years, SwRI has performed engine durability and reliability testing. SwRI's durability test cells can evaluate the life expectancy of a test specimen, often testing components to failure. All failure modes, including minor ones such as an oil leak, are recorded.
"When failures do occur, we can evaluate why the item failed and also engineer a fix," Burrahm said. "Our staff includes engine designers who can redesign a component or offer solutions to a problem."
The Institute offers a broad range of engine-design and testing services including conceptual design, cycle simulations, modeling, prototyping, and endurance testing. SwRI also has additional multi-purpose test cells available. Dozens of engine dynamometers are available in sizes ranging from 30 to 2,000 hp and at speeds up to 12,000 rpm.
Along with the coolant chiller system, SwRI has also installed quick-change carts, which save testing costs by reducing the amount of engine set-up time from days to hours. The Institute has also upgraded its data acquisition and control systems for faster downloading of data and better control capabilities to run more complex test cycles, including semi-transient cycles.
As an independent, multidisciplinary research, development, and testing organization, SwRI provides a non-biased, third-party perspective. The SwRI Engine and Vehicle Research Division has achieved certification to ISO 9001, an internationally recognized quality standard, and is working toward ISO 14001 certification.
For more information, visit the engine durability web site at enginedurability.swri.org. SwRI is the first engine durability testing laboratory to publicly offer online pricing and contract information for its clients.
For more information, contact Bob Burrahm, Spark Ignition Engines Section manager, at (210) 522-3064, or Tracey M.S. Whelan, Communications Department, at (210) 522-2256, Fax (210) 522-3547, PO Drawer 28510, San Antonio, Texas, 78228-0510.