NTS News Center

Latest News in Testing, Inspection and Certification

NTS News Center - Latest News in Testing, Inspection and Certification

Fuel Icing and Contamination Test Stand Goes Live in Santa Clarita

NTS understands the significant threat to aerospace fuel system components posed by ice and contamination, and that is why NTS Santa Clarita has just completed significant upgrades in its water in fuel, fuel icing and contaminated fuels testing capabilities.

Our novel, stand-alone, water in fuel/fuel icing test stand is equipped to perform testing in accordance with SAE ARP 1401 and MIL-F-8615D on aerospace fuel system components sub-systems and systems, along with our neighboring test stand designed to run contaminated fuel testing in accordance with MIL-F-8615D and SAE ARP-8615.

Our enhanced capabilities allow us to support aerospace fuel system component and/or system testing (including aerial refueling components and systems) with flow capabilities up to 500 gpm at 200 psig.  NTS’ design allows for the ability to perform both recirculated and single pass testing.

Fuel Icing / Water in Fuel Testing

Simply stated, water buildup within aircraft fuel systems becomes ice during changes in altitude, and changes in fuel demand can knock loose this ice, creating significant hazards to fuel system and engine components.  NTS replicates these conditions by injecting a known amount of water into the fuel, then cools the mixture to the required temperatures and flows through the test article.  The mission profile (e.g. Idle, Takeoff, Cruise, Descent, and Landing) is then performed at three temperatures, each representing a different physical state of ice with its own associated failure mode and samples are taken throughout the system to verify the water content meets specified requirements.

Contaminated Fuel Testing


Whether at a commercial airport or the most remote military airfield, contaminants can find their way into a fuel farm and into a plane’s fuel system.  These contaminants have the potential to cause parts to fail over time, whether through wearing out O-rings and seals, or jamming moving parts.  NTS’ test system is designed to test fuel system components’ resistance to failure due to these contaminants by injecting a defined amount and mixture of contaminants into the fuel stream or reservoir and sending this mixture through the test article.  The mission profile is then performed and leakage testing conducted to determine the performance outcome.

These state of the art capabilities, and our partnered approach to testing, uniquely positions NTS to provide you with the testing solutions you need to go to market with confidence. To learn more about the testing capabilities at NTS Santa Clarita, contact us today!

Training: Modern Practices in Intermediate Vibration Testing

Santa Clarita Vibration TablesNTS Santa Clarita is pleased to host the IEST for the course “Modern Practices in Intermediate Vibration Testing” on February 7, 2007.

The purpose of this course is to offer a comprehensive familiarization with leading edge issues and best practices in vibration during all phases of the system development. Moving beyond the basics to more complex and realistic vibration scenarios, the student will interact with the instructor and fellow students to maximize understanding of leading concepts in fatigue theory, requirements development, advanced test techniques (including multi-axis and synergistic testing), and vibration test management.

Numerous “how to” examples and vibration testing “traps or pitfalls” will be discussed in class. During an extensive case study, the students will participate in a detailed practical exercise designed to demonstrate the development and execution of a complex vibration test program.

The course will be instructed by Robert L. (Andy) Anderson. Andy has over 35 years experience in the test industry, most recently serving as Dynamics Manager for NTS in El Segundo.

Visit the IEST website for more details and to register here.

To learn more about NTS vibration testing capabilities, click here.

New and Upgraded Aerospace Test Capabilities in Santa Clarita

As part of our continual effort of improvement, the Santa Clarita laboratory has just opened a revamped acoustic test facility along with a brand new vibration facility. It features two oversized doors to easily accommodate large test items and staging/prep area with an 8 ton crane.

The upgraded acoustic facility features:

  • 5,000 cubic foot Reverb Chamber
  • 1,400 square foot High Bay
  • Class 100k (ISO Class 8) Clean Room
  • M+P and PAK Closed Loop Control Systems
  • 100+ Instrumentation Channels (Microphones Accelerometers, Force Sensors, Strain Gages)

The new vibration facility features:

  • 2,500 square foot Vibration Facility
  • 15 Ton Crane
  • 2 Ling 340 Shakers 30,000 lbf ea.
  • Class 100k (ISO Class 8) Clean Room
  • Closed Loop Control Systems
  • 100+ Instrumentation Channels

NTS Santa Clarita is one of the largest test facilities in the U.S., covering over 150 acres. Whether you require small component level testing or massive complex system simulation, our mission is to streamline testing, verification and evaluation processes to reduce cycle time and bring your product to market faster.

Our technical experts have extensive experience providing a variety of complex test setups gained from our experience with major aerospace and defense related programs over the last 55+years. Click the here to request a quick quote and let us help you expedite your next project!

Evaluation of Accelerometers for Pyroshock Performance in a Harsh Field Environment

NTS Santa Clarita had the pleasure of assisting Anthony Agnello and Robert Sill of PCB Piezotronics, Inc., Patrick Walter of Texas Christian University, and Strether Smith with the pyroshock testing needed for their white paper “Evaluation of Accelerometers for Pyroshock Performance in a Harsh Field Environment”. Click here to review this white paper.

Click here to review the capabilities at NTS Santa Clarita.

Modeling of Ordnance-Induced Pyrotechnic Shock Testing

pyro shock plateAuthors: Logan McLeod and Santina Tatum

Design of an ordnance-induced pyrotechnic shock test to meet a specific acceleration based Shock Response Spectrum (SRS) test requirement for a given test article has traditionally been an empirical process. Based on experience, the test engineer will determine a potential test configuration and then, through a trial-and-error process, modify the test parameters and configuration until acceptable SRS levels have been achieved. As a complement to this approach, National Technical Systems (NTS) has developed an explicit finite element based modeling approach to simulate an ordnance-induced pyrotechnic shock test. This tool may be used to assist with test configuration design for particularly challenging test requirements or to streamline the process of arriving at acceptable test levels during the calibration phase of a test program.

While others have recognized the value of modeling ordnance-induced pyrotechnic shock, the majority of these efforts have utilized more traditional linear implicit finite element based approaches. The implicit approach suffers from two major challenges: determining a suitable spatio-temporal force/pressure distribution on the resonating plate induced by the explosive charge detonation; and accounting for non-linear material response such as plastic deformation in the primary resonating plate which commonly occurs during an ordnance-induced pyrotechnic shock event. The explicit approach inherently overcomes both of these challenges.

The NTS-developed explicit finite element modeling approach for ordnance-induced pyrotechnic shock testing will be presented along with model predictions for specific test configurations. Predicted results will include the acceleration-time history and corresponding SRS levels for a given location on the mounting shelf. Test data for these test configurations will be presented for comparison with model predictions. Post-processing of the model results in order to facilitate comparison with measured test data will also be discussed.

Fill out the form below to download a PDF version of this white paper.

Testing to the Extreme: NTS Designs and Builds Custom Pneumatic Test Setups in Support of Customers’ R&D Needs

Temperature Testing over 2000F with airflow.

Temperature Testing over 2000F with airflow.

NTS Santa Clarita is home to our largest pneumatics test capabilities. The pneumatics test facilities are designed to conduct testing of air flow, pressure and temperature management subsystems and components requiring compressed air in a controlled environment. Other environments which can be combined with pneumatic testing include; external thermal control, structural stress, and vibration.

The pneumatics test system is comprised of four high-capacity convection heaters, seven air compressors with boosters, two compressed air receivers (ullage tanks), air distribution piping and controls, high flow, low pressure air blowers, and supporting capabilities such as thermal chambers, small air compressors, LN2 and GN2.

Typical systems and components which NTS tests in our pneumatics testing facility include:

  • Jet engine bleed air systems and associated components (valves, instrumentation, etc.)
  • Aerospace environmental control systems and associated components (heat exchangers, valves, instrumentation, etc.)
  • Transportation and industrial combustion and exhaust management systems and associated components (heat exchangers, valves, turbo chargers, instrumentation, etc.)
  • Other subsystems and components that require compressed air at varying pressures, flows and temperatures for sustained periods.

To learn more about this test capability, click here.

NTS Santa Clarita Expands its Brand of Extreme and Complex Testing

CIMG0787NTS Santa Clarita is proud to announce the grand opening of the Donald A. Grant Memorial Fuel Icing and Contamination Test Pad! The hard working team of NTS Santa Clarita’s Fluids Department spent months designing and building the test stand and completed their inaugural test on September 12th, 2014. To cap off the ceremony, NTS Santa Clarita appropriately served up Kona Flavored Ice to all hands.

Fuel icing has been attributed to over 200 aircraft crashes since the 1950’s* when jet engines began pushing the frontiers of aircraft speed and performance. Being able to fly at higher altitudes and across changing weather patterns created new challenges for aircraft designers, and fuel icing presents a persistent challenge to the aerospace industry as well as a danger to pilots and crews. As recently as 2008, a Boeing 777 landed short of the runway at Heathrow International after suffering engine failure due to fuel icing.

CIMG0776Our test pad uses Jet-A fuel and meets MIL-F-8615D/SAE-ARP 8615/SAE-ARP 1401 requirements for icing and contamination testing. Although the system was designed with aerospace components in mind, NTS Santa Clarita can also support fuel icing tests for other industries.

We recognize the challenges our customers face in designing aerospace components which can withstand extreme conditions. Our goal was to recreate and deliver those conditions to meet their needs. We are extremely proud of all the hard work put in by our engineers and technicians and cordially invite customers to come visit the laboratory and see the test stand in action!

*Scotty, Leonard R. Above and Beyond: Fire and Ice”. In: Air and Space Magazine. (2010). 

NTS Santa Clarita Adds Static Firing of Initiators to Testing Capabilities

Static Firing 1

Firing bomb components

Engineers from National Technical Systems Santa Clarita facility working in conjunction with one of our valued customers, recently developed tooling and techniques for measuring the parameters of a pressure pulse produced when through bulkhead initiators (TBIs) are fired.

NTS was tasked with creating a secondary entity to verify pressure data supplied by the TBI manufacturer. Our engineers worked closely with the client in making modifications to an existing industry tooling design leading to accurate and highly repeatable pressure versus time data. The team also developed a breakwire system which enabled the start point of the initiator detonation to be precisely identified in the pressure data.

Test Setup

Test Setup

The verification of pressure versus time was the final phase in a multi-test Service Life Extension program for the TBIs which included a full range of testing including thermal cycling, vibration testing, and helium leak checks.

NTS technical staff worked nights and weekends to shorten the program from four weeks to three. This agressive schedule combined with competitive pricing demonstrates the versatile nature of NTS Santa Clarita service offerings.

Techniques and tooling developed for this program could be utilized as a guide for similar testing of additional ordnance devices. This technology is fully transferable to any NTS facility possessing an explosives license such as:

  • Boxborough, MA (limited)
  • Camden, AR (unlimited)
  • El Segundo, CA (limited)
  • Fullerton, CA (limited)
  • Huntsville, AL (limited)
  • Plano, TX (limited)
  • Rustburg, VA (unlimited)
  • Santa Clarita, CA (limited)
  • Tempe, AZ (limited)

Limited: Restricted to small amounts of explosive typically less than 1 pound.
Unlimited: Storage or non-functional testing of larger amounts of explosives, 50 to 100 lbs. 

For additional information on how NTS might be able to apply these new developments to your project please contact our Santa Clarita facility at 661-259-8184.

Announcing the Pneumatics Test Facility at NTS Santa Clarita!

Airslab 1NTS Santa Clarita is proud to announce the establishment of a new Airslab to further support customers’ test requirements. The addition was a multi-year effort designed with the future in mind, after receiving feedback from customers that new aerospace requirements were pushing the envelope of current test capabilities. It was designed to conduct testing of air flow, pressure and temperature management subsystems and components requiring compressed air at varying pressures, flows and temperatures in a controlled environment.

Clients will find NTS is capable of testing jet engine bleed air systems, aerospace environmental control systems, transportation and industrial combustion or exhaust management systems and all the associated components. Even those that require compressed air at varying pressures as well as flows and temperatures for sustained periods.

This new testing facility consists of:

  • 4 high capacity convection heaters
  • 6 air compressors with boosters
  • 2 compressed air receivers
  • High flow, low pressure air blowers

Monitoring is housed in an adjoining state-of-the-art control room with a Data Acquisition & Control System (DAC) allowing test technicians, engineers, and customers to monitor and adjust test requirements and data. It can support up to 10 tests in parallel at 7 different workstations to view the test operation via remote video.

Other supporting capabilities include:

  • Thermal control chambers
  • High pressure compressors
  • High temperature oven
  • Low volume pneumatic pumps
  • SuE burners and combustors
  • Large vibration exciters

The facility recently spent a month pushing the capacity of these new systems to the limit in order to complete the South Coast Air Quality Management District permitting approvals. This ensures the ability to successfully meet customer requirements while simultaneously remaining responsible stewards of the environment.

NTS Santa Clarita is excited to welcome customers to take advantage of this new capability! For more information please contact the facility at 661-259-8184.