Endurance tests for the GP7000
The numbers behind the test are extreme: the engine runs for 630 hours, sucking in up to 1.4 metric tons of air each second. But this all has a purpose.
The development of an engine does not end with its commissioning. New materials become industrially available, new coatings get developed, and minor design changes are implemented. This is why MTU Aero Engines is currently running endurance tests on the A380’s GP7000 engine.
The test data are extreme:
0 tons air per second
The GP7000 engine mounted on the test pylon. The engine mechanics still have to install the fan blades.
Thanks to its state-of-the-art test environment, MTU is optimally equipped to conduct test runs of this engine.
It takes a while to put the huge amount of instrumentation in place before the engine is installed on the test bed.
A few assembly operations later, the mechanics install bolts in tracks. These bolts serve to attach the engine to the pylon.
A whole host of MTU departments are involved in the project. Test engineers and engine mechanics work shoulder to shoulder with specialists from a variety of fields, be it metrology, analysis, instrumentation or engine testing.
These fan blades will constitute the first compressor stage later on. Their main purpose is to draw air into the engine. The test engine can take in up to 1.4 tons of air per second.
A GP7000 engine delivers a thrust of close to 80,000 pounds. Four of the propulsion systems accelerate an Airbus A380, which weighs up to 590 tons, to take-off speed.
For the test runs, which take around 630 hours in total, the engine is fitted into a special cowling.
When setting up the engine, precision is of the essence: The test engine must be accurately positioned within a fraction of a millimeter.
Complex process: It may well take several weeks before a fully instrumented test engine is mounted on the test bed.
Despite its diameter of more than three meters, it takes a considerable amount of high-precision skill to set up the engine.
You need a proper basis for valid results: The bellmouth generates a uniform flow of air impinging on the engine.