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  • Joe Breitfeller

Rolls-Royce Runs First Engine on the Largest and Smartest Aerospace Testbed in the World

The company has successfully completed their first engine run on the new Testbed 80, which will become the world’s largest and smartest testbed when it officially opens in the coming months.

Rolls-Royce Testbed 80 - Courtesy Rolls-Royce

On Thursday (January 14, 2021), Rolls-Royce announced the successful engine run on their new Testbed 80, which will be the world’s largest and smartest indoor aerospace testbed when it officially opens in the coming months. The testbed is larger than a Premiership football pitch and has an internal area of 7,500 square meters. The first run test was conducted on a Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engine at the company’s test facility in Derby, UK. Representing a £90 million dollar investment and nearly three years of construction, the successful test run represents a major milestone for the important project. In yesterday’s announcement, Rolls-Royce Civil Aerospace’s President, Chris Cholerton, said,

“Today is an important landmark in our journey towards a more sustainable future for aerospace and aviation. 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 decarbonization. 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’s new testbed has been designed to test a range of today’s engines including the Trent XWB and Trent 1000, but also has the capability to test the Rolls-Royce UltraFan®, the blueprint for the next generation of more efficient engines, as well as hybrid and all-electric systems. The Testbed 80 can accommodate engines of all sizes up to 155klbf of thrust, enough power to launch a Boeing 747 with a single engine, and is also equipped with a 140,000 liter fuel tank which can accommodate different aviation fuels, including Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF).

Testbed 80’s data systems can deliver data in the fastest time directly to secure storage, which has been linked for the first time to the company’s analytical models and engineers. The platform can collect data from over 10,000 different engine parameters through an intricate web of sensors which can measure the tiniest vibrations at up to 200,000 samples per second. The testbed also includes a powerful x-ray machine which can capture 30 images per second and send them directly to a secure cloud, where they can be evaluated by engineers around the world. Rolls-Royce is the only engine manufacturer in the world that x-rays engines while they are running, allowing the company to inspect engines at minute levels of detail.

Source: Rolls-Royce

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