National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Glenn Research Center

Fuel Actuator Dynamic Characterization Rig



The focus on combustion control research at GRC is on developing approaches to identification and suppression of thermo-acoustic instabilities in low emission combustors. High frequency fuel actuators are needed to help validate and implement the advanced combustion control technologies.

The Actuator Characterization rig is used to assess the performance of various potential fuel actuators with regard to the requirements for combustion control, and to identify the dynamic response characteristics of the actuator. The rig operates in “cold flow” combustion conditions, i.e., the candidate actuator discharges its output into a back-pressured gaseous environment comparable to what would be seen in a combustor.


  • 600 psig maximum input working pressure; 2 gpm maximum flow rate
  • Simulated fuel injection via interchangeable orifices (orifice interchangeability permits the accommodation of a large range of flow number conditions)
  • Simulated combustion back pressure
  • Interchangeable line lengths between modulator candidate discharge and injection orifice (permits measurement of degraded performance due to line losses)
  • High frequency response transducers for real-time pressure and flow measurements
  • dSpace computation system for real-time data acquisition
  • Fuel, fuel-like synthetic, or water can be used as the working fluid
  • Rig is comprised of 2 racks on casters for portability

Research Projects

  • Active Combustion Instability Control for low-emissions aircraft combustors
  • Evaluation of emission level changes in response to pulsed fuel combustion

Potential Uses

  • Flow System Sensor Redundancy Management
  • Fuel Feed System Dynamic Model Development and Validation

Point of Contact: Joe Saus, 216-433-6470