NASA Uses Small Engine to Enhance Sustainable Jet Research | Space

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Located inside a high-tech NASA laboratory in Cleveland is something you could almost miss at first glance: a small-scale, fully operational jet engine to test new technology that could make aviation more sustainable.

The engine’s smaller size and modestly equipped test stand means researchers and engineers can try out newly designed engine components less expensively compared to using a more costly full-scale jet engine test rig.

Named DGEN380 Aero-Propulsion Research Turbofan, or DART, the engine is tiny enough to fit on a kitchen table, measuring at just 4.3 feet (1.3 meters) long. That’s about half the length of engines used on single-aisle airliners.

DART – not to be confused with NASA’s asteroid redirect mission of the same name – enables the agency to boost its sustainable aviation technology research because of its accessibility.

A hidden gem located inside the Aero-Acoustic Propulsion Laboratory at NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, the DART engine was made by a French company named Price Induction (now Akira) and was acquired by NASA in 2017.

“DART’s small size makes it appealing,” said Dan Sutliff, who coordinates research for the engine at NASA Glenn. “It’s a great way to explore new technology that hasn’t yet reached the level of a full-scale operation.”

Several key NASA activities studying jet engines used…


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