JP7 Heater Build-Up / Installation
Safely Developing, Managing, and Testing Heated and
Cracked Hypersonic Fuels
Sierra Lobo provides our government and commercial
customers with expertise in developing, managing, and testing hypersonic
fuels. In 2004, Sierra Lobo built a
fuel cracker for ISTAR hypersonic testing at NASA Plum Brook’s Hypersonic
Test Facility. In 2009, Sierra Lobo
was selected to reproduce a 1/6 model of this fuel cracker at NASA Glenn Research
This turnkey system is housed at GRC’s CE-5 Facility
within the Engine Research Building.
is a high-pressure, high-temperature flametube/sector
combustion test facility with laser diagnostic and exhaust emission
measurement capability. The rig was
activated in 2009 and achieved all of its design conditions.
During testing, engineers ran fuel through the bypass
line at about 1-gpm and heated the fuel to 900F, 1000F, and 1100F
respectively, and cracked fuel in the process. For this test, Sierra Lobo engineers wrote
a software program to model the system and were able to anticipate the
pressure throughout the system at various temperatures and a constant fuel
“Cracker” Installed in ERB,
Cell CE-5 NASA GRC
NASA GRC required
a fuel heating system* for CE-5, in Building 5, in order to study the
connection between the thermal input and combustion physics. The intent of this heater system, which was
designed and fabricated by Sierra Lobo, is to simulate the thermal environment(s)
of high-performance combustors typically used in hypersonic engines. This research equipment allows a
quantitative study of the impact of both thermal and combustion variation on
combustion performance in CE-5.
Under a TFOME
IWA, Sierra Lobo led the heater system integration effort to provide the CE-5
fuel heating capability. We
coordinated activities with facility management, the Pressure Safety Office,
and the Combustion Research Office.
The primary goals were to lead the facility modification to interface
with the Sierra Lobo endothermic fuel heater and cracker system, to perform
validation checkouts, and to train facility operators on the heater
sub-systems. We also wrote and
delivered an operational baseline report after checkouts were complete.
*A fuel heating
system is defined as an integrated system consisting of a fuel reactor
pallet, DC power supply, stand-alone PC with heater control PLC, HEX, and a
scrap fuel tank.