Endurance Testing of Indigenous Air Turbine Starter

Gas Turbine Engine is provided with a starter to generate the initial torque for the compressor turbine rotor system for attaining self-sustaining speed with the combustor light-up. This is achieved using hydraulic, electric, Air Turbine Starter (ATS) or Jet Fuel Starter (JFS). Gas Turbine Research Establishment (GTRE), Bangalore, in collaboration with M/s Turbo Tech and Indian Institute of Science has manufactured the indigenous ATS and designed and installed a test rig to carry out the qualification and endurance tests. ATS utilises the pneumatic energy from low pressure air to drive the high-speed impulse  turbine wheel producing ahigh initial torque.

The high speed of turbine wheel is reduced at the starter output shaft using a reduction gearbox. The power is transmitted from the ATS to the engine through a clutch, which also provides means to disengage the starter from the engine when it attains a particular speed. A flywheel is used to absorb the power of the starter and to simulate the moment of inertia of the engine. Terry turbine concept is incorporated on the flywheel for the braking arrangement consisting of a nozzle for impingement of air on to terry turbine. The complete rig is acoustically treated in order to suppress the noise created during the braking action.

More than 1000 runs were successfully completed in the air turbine starter rig. The indigenous ATS has been installed on Kaveri Marine Engine in the test cell and has successfully completed more than 80 runs. Thus, the successful design and development of ATS is another step in the self-reliance programme of DRDO.