How are Jet Engines Tested?
Since the advent of commercial flying, jet engines have come a tremendously long way in terms of reliability and safety. The chances of a problem or failure occurring has become extremely low, and even then, they often do not cause harm to any passengers. To achieve this, parts such as the engine are heavily tested during multiple phases of their life. The times that jet engines undergo this testing includes during their manufacturing, after installation, and after MRO servicing.
When a jet engine is manufactured, it undergoes very rigorous examination to ensure that it optimally functions and can withstand the various pressures it may face. These tests are done with the isolated engine and are conducted at remote areas either indoors or outdoors. Many of the trials the engine undergoes include the pouring of water, snow, ice, sand, dust, debris, and any other materials into the engine that they may encounter during normal operation. These may be done in the form of dumping tons of water or ice into the engine by the minute to ensure that they remain running. Some tests even include launching dead birds into the engine to simulate a collision with a flock to ensure that the engine will not stall.
Once the engine is installed onto the aircraft wing, it will then undergo more tests to ensure functionality. These include power assurance, balance and vibration checks, oil and fuel system checks, and more. This testing is often conducted in an open field or near the aircraft hanger.
The last type of is another form of off wing testing, done every five years or after the engine undergoes MRO services. These checks are much more extensive than those that are done while the engine is on the wing, and the engine is kept in a controlled environment called a “test cell” while they do their checks. Within the test cell, the engine can be checked for its thrust capability and for other factors such as fuel consumption, vibration levels, etc.
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Posted on January 7, 2020