Inside one of the AEDC Propulsion Wind Tunnel Facility's wind tunnels.
Inside one of the AEDC Propulsion Wind Tunnel Facility's wind tunnels.
One of the composite spacers.
One of the composite spacers.

The multi-million dollar contract was awarded in 2011 for an initial quantity of 9 LRIPs to be followed by the manufacture of more than 200 production spacers. Full rate production efforts are expected to extend into 2015.

Utilising carbon fibre construction and its design and precision closed moulding expertise, Matrix reports it was able to significantly increase performance and durability of the spacers compared to the previous design. The weight of each assembly was also cut by 27 lbs (or 60%).

Utilisation of state-of-the-art closed moulding methods has enabled our team to create an optimised solution for this high-load, high-fatigue environment. It’s a good example of what can be achieved when the right materials are combined with the right manufacturing methods. A 60% weight reduction is significant and will ultimately enhance aerodynamic and propulsion testing capability for our military.
David Nesbitt, president, Matrix Composites

The composite turbine blade spacer assemblies were delivered to the Arnold Engineering Development Complex (AEDC)’s testing facility at Arnold Air Force Base in Tennessee.

AEDC is reported to be the most advanced and largest complex of flight simulation test facilities in the world and it operates 43 aerodynamic and propulsion wind tunnels. The composite turbine blade spacer assemblies are complex, fully integrated structures that are used in AEDC's Propulsion Wind Tunnel (PWT) 16T C-1 transonic compressor, which is approximately 36 ft in diameter and is powered by electric motors totalling nearly 300,000 horsepower.

Matrix Composites, headquarted in Rockledge, Florida, is a full service provider to the aerospace and defence industries with particular emphasis on critical structures fabricated used precision closed moulding technologies.