Flagship to the National Gas Machinery Laboratory at Kansas State University is the Turbocharger Test and Research Facility (TTRF), which is a state-of-the-art test facility that provides the means to test operating performance of turbochargers used on large-bore slow-speed reciprocating engines. For the past 10 years, the natural gas transmission industry has relied heavily upon the NGML to provide accurate and independent turbocharger testing services.
Turbocharger/engine operating information is vital to the sustained and reliable operation of an engine system especially as operating margins continue to close due to tighter emissions regulations and as increased demand requires increased loads with little room for unplanned outages.
This state-of-the art test cell meets ASME and SAE test codes. A natural gas burner heats the air entering the turbine and allows operators to change operating conditions to field operating conditions while under test. The TTRF can achieve 3-to-1 pressure ratios as well as flow rates up to 30,000 scfm and 30 psig. Between a unique rail system that allows the test cell to be reconfigured and a large inventory of transitions pieces, the TTRF can be used to test most models of large turbochargers.
The TTRF data acquisition system meets Nuclear Regulatory Commission requirements. This includes a vibration system that records horizontal, vertical, and axial vibration traces to identify abnormalities that a 1- or 2-channel vibration system could miss. The vibration monitoring system operates in real time so the client can monitor traces during the testing.
Data collection for speed, temperature, and pressure parameters is recorded for a client-specified amount of time and then averaged. This method assures that the collected operating point is repeatable and not a mere fluctuation. The NGML does not collect instantaneous points. Quality control procedures and a software interface ensure accurate, precise, and, most importantly, meaningful data collection.
The TTRF continues to provide industry the ability to test improved turbocharger designs that lower emissions, improve efficiency, and increase reliability.
For comments or questions about this section, please contact Jon Tice, MSME, JTice@Dresser-Rand.com