MDS and Jeff Defoe at the University of Windsor are designing the next generation of gas turbine engine testing facilities

MDS and Dr. Jeff Defoe’s team at the University of Windsor are collaborating to understand the ultimate physical mechanisms behind pressure fluctuation anomalies in gas turbine engine testing facilities. Utilizing the SOSCIP platforms, their work is contributing to the design of the next generation of gas turbine engine test facilities.

 

MDS is an Ottawa-based, Tier 1 supplier of turnkey test solutions for gas turbine engines and engine components used in the marine and aviation industry. MDS continues to invest in improving its world-class facilities and reducing aero-acoustic phenomenon to the surrounding environment, in particular pressure fluctuations under certain operating conditions.  These pressure fluctuations may pose risks to either the operating engine or facility elements and therefore requires investment to further study the physics of these aero-acoustic phenomena.

A lucrative partnership was formed with the team led by Dr. Jeff Defoe (University of Windsor), Project Manager and Post-Doctoral fellow, Dr. Majed Etemadi, and Ph.D. student David (Jarrod) Hill. Accessing SOSCIP’s Parallel CPU platform, the team is employing “detailed flow simulations to reproduce what is going on [in the test facilities]” and using their findings to help MDS develop a new generation of testing facilities with zero pressure fluctuation-related anomalies.

Dr. Jeff Defoe

Simulating complex physical interactions has a crucial advantage over physical testing, says Dr. Defoe, an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Engineering. “Because it is a simulation, we see everything that’s going on in the flow field. We can understand what phenomena are causing these undesirable events. Using a series of different approaches (we’re looking at three different ideas in parallel in this project), [we can explore] the kinds of design changes… to the facilities that would mitigate the problem based on our understanding of flow fields and flow physics”.

“Because it is a simulation, we see everything that’s going on in the flow field. We can understand what phenomena are causing these undesirable events.”

 

“It’s just not practical to measure everything in a 3D flow field at once,” says Dr. Defoe. Instead, by using a simulation of the testing environment, “you have unlimited information, and it’s also much easier to explore slight changes in design with simulation. It can take a lot of simulation time, but in terms of the human effort involved, it’s low compared to ‘machine this part, install it and run this experiment again.’”

Dr. Defoe gives full credit to his team for learning how to use SOSCIP’s advanced computing platforms. “While [they were] experienced in computational fluid dynamics before, it wasn’t on very large systems. [They] didn’t have any experience using supercomputing cluster high-performance systems.” The quality of these systems has “made this project feasible,” allowing Dr. Defoe and his team to produce high-fidelity data at “several orders of magnitude” higher than what MDS was able to produce in-house.

How has this collaborative research project benefitted MDS? The answer is two-fold. First, MDS now has a wealth of data on the physics of fluid flow and can boast an understanding [of] what is going on in their testing facilities that are on par with the latest theoretical research: about “a decade” ahead of what is currently being implemented in similar testing facilities worldwide. Second, as a result of this knowledge, MDS will be able to design their next generation of test facilities to avoid the undesired anomalies threatening the future reliability of their testing.

By all estimates, this collaborative project is giving MDS a competitive advantage and will allow MDS to remain a leading and trusted partner with the world’s biggest engine manufacturers well into the future.