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MDS Gives Rolls-Royce an Extreme-Cold Workout

MDS GLACIER Test Facility

With the new icing season fast approaching, MDS AeroTest is ramping up for another successful winter at the GLACIER facility. The previous testing season in Thompson, Manitoba saw technology for the newest generation of Rolls-Royce engines getting their first taste of extreme-cold temperatures.

Since 2010, MDS AeroTest has been responsible for the management of the Global Aerospace Centre for Icing and Environmental Research (GLACIER). In fact, the facility was also designed and built by MDS as the premier outdoor cold weather testing site for development engines for Rolls-Royce and Pratt & Whitney. MDS AeroTest conducts engine testing in accordance with Original Equipment Manufacturers’ (OEMs) instructions, with the aim of delivering verified data on engine operation during OEM-defined test experiments. This responsibility includes test program planning and management, handling of engines, tooling and special purpose test equipment, the provision of consumables such as aviation fuels and oils, the delivery of data streams for static and transient data to the OEM for almost real-time validation, management reviews for continual improvement of processes and equipment, and related services.

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The ALECSys demonstrator engine on the GLACIER test stand in Thompson, Manitoba.
Photos courtesy of Rolls-Royce.

The Advanced Low Emissions Combustion System (ALECSys) that Rolls-Royce is developing for its new aircraft engines underwent cold weather icing tests at the GLACIER facility in February 2018. The successful outdoor testing program, which saw consistent temperatures of -20°C (-4°F), came a month after the initial ground tests that were conducted in Derby, U.K. The demonstrator engine – a modified Trent 1000 – featured a new lean-burn and low-emissions combustion system that is being developed for future engines. The goal for next generation engines is to be more powerful, more fuel efficient, have lower emissions, and be quieter. The ALECSys technology will be part of the UltraFan® engine design that will be available for service from 2025.

Ash Owen, Rolls-Royce, Chief Engineer Civil Demonstrators and Research and Technology – Civil Aerospace, said: “GLACIER is a very important part of our strategy to bring new engines into the marketplace. We can prove technologies work in the extremes of cold weather, part of the process of incorporating them into our engine designs and ensuring they are both safe and efficient.”

GLACIER is operated by MDS AeroTest with a permanent staff in Thompson of 15 people to support the testing programs and maintain the facility. John Jastremski, MDS President & CEO comments: “MDS is a direct support player in contributing to the overall development of civil gas turbine technologies globally, especially when it comes to icing testing. The GLACIER test facility is one-of-a-kind, and many development tests cannot be successfully completed without us.”

Visit the MDS Aero Test website to learn more about ice testing.

The ALECSys technology will be part of the UltraFan® engine design, to be available in 2025.

The ALECSys technology will be part of the UltraFan® engine design, to be available in 2025.
Photo courtesy of Rolls-Royce.

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