Penn State

Mechanical & Nuclear Engineering

Turbine Heat Transfer and Aerodynamics Group

Steady Thermal Aero Research Turbine (START) Laboratory

Location of START Lab at Penn State.

The START Lab at the Pennsylvania State University was founded in 2011. The focus of the lab includes the following:

  1. research novel methods for improving turbine cooling performance through the testing of realistic turbine hardware to provide engine relevant data and reduce overall testing costs
  2. provide a turbine test bed for new instrumentation development that can be applied in actual turbines
  3. advance manufacturing methods for turbine components as well as integrate sensors into components through the use of additive manufacturing
  4. investigate novel turbine sealing geometries

To perform the research aligned with the lab’s focus, a number of test facilities have been developed including a modern test turbine with continuous operation; a test rig for evaluating microchannel coupons with novel cooling designs; and a new test rig for evaluating seals used in turbine applications that can simulate high pressures, temperatures, and periodic loading. The START turbine test facility extensively pushes the boundaries of current experimental capabilities for gas turbine research. No other facility in the United States is openly available for gas turbine research that so closely replicates engine realistic rotational effects at relevant blade Mach and Reynolds numbers with continuous flow operation.

START Lab facilities include two large compressors
capable of producing 25 lbm/s up to 70 psia.

START Lab showing the test turbine infrastructure.

Location and contact information for START Lab:

The Pennsylvania State University
NARCO Building, CATO Park
3127 Research Drive
State College, PA 16801

Dr. Michael Barringer
3127 Research Drive, Room 145
(814) 865-4326

Professor Karen A. Thole
3127 Research Drive, Room 147
(814) 863-0818

Mr. Dave Johnson
3127 Research Drive, Room 144
(814) 865-5909