Gas turbine research facilities

The Aerospace Research Centre's gas turbine facilities deliver advanced technology solutions to the aerospace and energy sectors through multiple NRC aerospace and energy programs, both in civilian and military applications.

Our nationally unique facilities, expertise, and technology risk management capabilities help both aircraft and industrial gas turbine engine OEMs, component suppliers and system integrators to develop and maintain a globally competitive position in their respective markets, developing and validating technologies to meet ever-stringent environmental, safety, cost-reduction, performance, and fuel flexibility requirements.

We also work with fleet operators to validate and improve performance in special requirements and environments, as well optimize life-cycle costs through technology-driven enhanced maintenance, repair and operation (MRO) practices.

Our capabilities

  • Hybrid-electric test facilities to support the research, testing and certification of hybrid-electric propulsion systems, specializing in the on-ground testing of electric and hybrid-electric systems and components.
  • Combustion and spray test facilities to support the research, testing and validation of low-emissions, fuel-flexible combustion systems and fuel spray nozzles and injectors at realistic high-pressure conditions.
  • Engine aerodynamics test facilities to support gas turbine engine fuel-efficiency improvements through advancements in engine turbomachinery (compressors, turbines and inter-stage ducts), engine inlet and exhaust systems, as well as test and validate the performance of engine probes.
  • Engine test cells to support engine performance, operability and certification testing including icing, bird ingestion, blade-off, alternative fuel certification and endurance trials.
  • Icing systems to support engine icing certification testing and analysis, as well as development of icing detection and mitigation systems onboard aircraft and engines.
  • Mechanical component test facilities to support tribological (friction and wear) testing, analysis and modeling (including mechanical equipment and rotating machinery).
  • A research altitude test facility to support the testing of engines and related systems under simulated high-altitude (pressure, temperature and humidity) conditions.

In addition to the above, we also develop, operate and maintain specialized icing masts for the Global Aerospace Centre for Icing and Environmental Research (GLACIER), a specialized 9-metre outdoor test facility located in Thompson, Manitoba that certifies the world's largest aircraft turbine engines.

We also support Pratt & Whitney Canada with the developmental testing of gas turbine engines in simulated altitude conditions at a dedicated facility at the E. L. Smith (M-11) building in our Ottawa campus.

Why work with us

Our exclusive facilities provide a cost-effective platform to test and de-risk new technologies, enabling our clients to move their technologies to market more rapidly and meet the latest industry regulations and standards. We take a long-term view of industry needs and challenges, working with clients and stakeholders to identify the outcomes that will drive our research and technology focus, as well as our facility investments.

We have world-class capabilities (expertise, competencies and facilities), in:

  • alternative fuels for aviation and energy production
  • combustor and fuel nozzle development and evaluation
  • diagnostics, prognostics, and health monitoring (DPHM)
  • engine and turbomachinery aerodynamics
  • engine performance assessment and certification
  • engine test cell development
  • icing formation, detection, and mitigation
  • mechanical components and tribology (lubricants, bearings, and gearboxes)

The NRC's Aerospace Research Centre gas turbine facilities are registered to the ISO 9001 quality standard, covering all critical business and technical processes. All instrument calibrations are traceable to appropriate national and international standards.