Image 2021 01 22 T11 25 50

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Rolls Royce reveals world's largest testbed

Jamal Niaz morson news

Image 2021 01 22 T11 25 50

The record-breaking testbed has been in development for the past three years, with the £90m facility located at Rolls-Royce’s Derby test centre.

It has an internal area of 7,500m2 (larger than a football pitch) and was designed to accommodate both existing and future Rolls engines. The purpose of the testbed is to put aircraft engines through a range of environments and tests to determine issues and efficiency before they’re installed on aircraft.

According to Rolls-Royce, Testbed 80 can collect data from more than 10,000 different parameters on an engine, using a web of sensors that can detect tiny vibrations at a rate of up to 200,000 samples per second. The testbed also hosts a powerful x-ray machine capable of capturing 30 images of the engine’s insides each second. These are then sent directly to the cloud so that engineers worldwide can analyse the pictures alongside the data. Rolls-Royce is the only engine manufacturer that x-rays engines that are running.

Chris Cholerton, president of Rolls-Royce Civil Aerospace stated:

Testbed 80 will not only test engines such as the Trent XWB – the world’s most efficient aero-engine in service – but also the engines and propulsion systems of the future, which will see us take another step towards decarbonisation. It’s great that the first engine test has been a success and we are looking forward to the official opening of the facility in the coming months.

The company will also use the testbed to further explore the performance of Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAFs). Rolls-Royce said that SAFs can already be used as ‘drop-in’ fuels for its existing engines. Testbed 80’s 140,000 litre tank can house various fuel types – including SAFs – and will be used to investigate different blends as part of the company’s decarbonisation strategy.

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