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Optimus Fired Up for Rocket Testing Project

Optimus Fired Up for Rocket Testing Project

Airborne Engineering Limited (AEL) specialises in measurement, testing and research; particularly of advanced rocket propulsion systems. One of AEL’s principle services is carrying out static tests of rocket engines for other aerospace companies.

AEL is based at Westcott Venture Park, formerly the Rocket Propulsion Establishment, and operates two test bunkers, purpose built in 1949 for rocket and turbo-pump tests. AEL has refurbished the bunkers and outfitted them with state-of-the art equipment and instrumentation.

In conjunction with one of its customers, AEL is carrying out a research programme to investigate noise suppression systems for rocket engines. If successful, this will allow AEL to test bigger rocket engines on the Westcott site without causing noise issues for other nearby businesses.

Conventional low-cost noise meters could not be used since they do not have sufficient response rate.

A prototype noise suppressor was manufactured and a series of test runs conducted to quantify the reduction in noise between unsuppressed and suppressed firings. The rocket engine being used in this programme has a firing duration of less than two seconds, due to the consumption of large amounts of expensive propellant and the need to eliminate the extreme heat generated. This means that conventional low-cost noise meters could not be used since they do not have sufficient response rate to capture the effect of the noise suppression system in such a short time period.

Cirrus Research’s Optimus range of instruments were identified as having ability to measure high noise levels with sufficient frequency response to capture the noise profile of each firing. The rugged nature of the Cirrus equipment was also appreciated as it could cope with the variable weather conditions encountered during a winter test campaign.

Two Optimus instruments, supplied in field kit form, were placed at two fixed positions on the test site; around 100- 140m from the engine. A third hand-held instrument was used to take spot-measurements at other locations in and around the test site.

An important benefit of NoiseTools was the ability to export the noise data into AEL’s in-house data processing and reporting system.

The Optimus instruments and NoiseTools software worked well. The Cirrus equipment allowed AEL to capture data which clearly shows the noise profile of each firing. An important benefit of NoiseTools was the ability to export the noise data into AEL’s inhouse data processing and reporting system. This allowed correlation with the rocket engine’s performance data. The information gained from the Cirrus equipment has allowed AEL and their client to refine the noise suppression system. It has also given reassurance that the overall levels of noise are within acceptable limits across the site.

We Recommend

Cirrus Products Used in This Case Study

Environmental Sound Level Meter
Optimus+ Green

The Optimus+ Green Environmental Noise Meter with 1/3 Octave Band Filters is ideal for environmental noise measurement and monitoring.

Meets the IEC 61672-1:2013 standard
Timers and Repeating measurements
Real-time 1:1 and 1:3 octave bands 6.3Hz to 20kHz
VoiceTag recording of audio notes
NoiseTools Analysis Software

NoiseTools is our licence-free noise measurement database, supplied as standard with our sound level meters, noise dosimeters, and noise measurement kits, to help you manage and control noise levels in your workplace or in the environment.

Licence-free with no installation restrictions, and free updates for life
Easily select hearing protectors from recommendations based on your results
Access a range of built-in reports or create detailed reports from your data
Automatic detection of data quality and reliability via AuditStore
Jaymee-lee Tolliday
Jaymee-lee Tolliday
Marketing Coordinator

Jaymee-Lee is the Marketing Coordinator at Cirrus Research plc, from managing our English social media platforms and email campaigns to crafting compelling content, she is behind all marketing initiatives across our global markets.

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