|This electronic brochure highlights our
capabilities and activities in the area of Fuels and Lubricants Research.
Please sign our guestbook.
Steven D. Marty, Southwest Research Institute.
Fuels and Lubricants Research
in the U.S. Army TARDEC Fuels and Lubricants Research Facility
at Southwest Research Institute
Southwest Research Institute has staffed and continuously
operated the U.S. Army Tank-Automotive Research, Development, and Engineering Center
(TARDEC) Fuels and Lubricants Research Facility (TFLRF) since the facility began operation
on the Institute grounds in 1957. TFLRF functions as a dedicated "in-house"
facility, an extension of the Army's Tank-automotive and Armaments Command (TACOM) at
Warren, Michigan. TFLRF is surrounded and augmented as required by the Institute's diverse
staff and modern facilities. Included among the Institute's 12 technical divisions are
three with more than 40 years' experience in engine, fuels, and lubricants activities. The
TFLRF research program provides the Army and Department of Defense with unique
capabilities ranging from proof of concept to field validation testing and rapid response
problem solving, particularly in the area of combat mobility fuels and lubricants. Other
governmental agencies and contractors also use SwRI fuels and lubricants research
capabilities through cooperative or independent arrangements.
The Institute assembles multidisciplinary teams capable of
solving integrated fuels- and lubricants-related problems, specifically, how fuels,
lubricants, engines, and systems interact.
TFLRF (SwRI) technology areas include:
- Characterization of fuel and lubricant (F&L) properties and
- Prediction, analysis, and correlation of F&L properties with
- Alternative F&L utilization criteria
- Development of bench and engine evaluation methodologies
- Friction studies and wear mapping for components and systems
- Fuel lubricity
- Fuel-lubricant-equipment interactions
- Diesel, turbine engine combustion and performance mapping
- Fluid flammability and combustion
- Halon extinguishing alternatives
- Failure analysis
- Field and fleet evaluations
Lubricity Studies for Diesel Injection Systems
Southwest Research Institute works with the U.S. Army as well
as the engine and pump industries, SAE, ISO, and CRC to develop fuel lubricity
requirements for heavy-duty vehicles and equipment. Lubricity studies for diesel injection
equipment require the Institute's expertise in using engine, component, and bench testing
in an integrated problem-solving process.
TFLRF (SwRI) studies diesel fuel contamination by
extracting contaminants from clean and dirty fuel filters from Army battle tanks. Possible
sources of contamination range from products of fuel degradation to dirt or dust to
microbiological growth, such as fungus or yeast.
Fuel Cleanliness, Deterioration, and Property Measurements
Institute scientists are experts in studies of fuel stability
and cleanliness. SwRI staff members have improved methods for removing, isolating, and
characterizing contaminants from plugged fuel filters and samples of contaminated fuel.
SwRI develops special instrumentation and techniques to predict and diagnose fuel
stability and cleanliness and provides services such as establishing fuel monitoring
procedures, providing guidance on use of fuel additives, and conducting onsite fuel
sampling and testing.
Fuels Kinetics Studies
The Institute measures fuels kinetics to establish a
theoretical base and to develop methods of predicting future behavior of hydrocarbon
fuels, such as the peroxidation potential of turbine fuels. SwRI generates highly
repeatable and accurate fuels kinetics data by precisely controlling temperatures within
stainless steel stirred pressure reactors equipped with liquid and gas phase sampling
SwRI scientists have developed a new, accelerated test
procedure to predict the storage stability of kerosene fuels by measuring rates of
peroxidation. Developed for the U.S. Navy, the procedure also reliably evaluates the
effectiveness of antioxidants in retarding autoxidation of turbine fuels.
High-Output Diesel Engine Lubrication
The Institute is working with the U.S. Army to define lubricant
requirements for next-generation combat and tactical vehicles requiring low-heat rejection
SwRI is also investigating requirements for an engine oil that
will function in conventional as well as new reduced-emission heavy-duty diesel-powered
Army equipment. Worldwide operation with available diesel fuels of varying composition is
The Caterpillar 1N test research engine is used to
evaluate the piston deposition characteristics of future high-performance fluids,
including high-temperature lubricants, improved arctic engine oils, and emission-compliant
Flammability Hazard Assessments
SwRI uses standard and specially designed tests to simulate
fuels and fluids flammability hazards such as aircraft post-impact pool burning or
high-pressure fluid leaks in engine compartments. For example, a dynamic mist flammability
test is used to assess the hazards of fuels, lubricants, or high-pressure hydraulic fluids
near or in contact with hot surfaces. An SwRI-developed test apparatus allows staff
members to determine the fire-extinguishing agent effectiveness and decomposition product
effects on system components, providing guidance for vehicular fire suppression systems
development. Innovative research enables SwRI to provide leadership in technical and
professional societies dealing with fluid hazards and formulation, such as the American
Society for Testing and Materials and the Coordinating Research Council.
Dynamic mist flammability tests assess the hazards of
high-pressure fluid leaks near hot surfaces, such as engine manifolds or broken lines.
Recent and Current TFLRF (SwRI) Accomplishments
This brochure was published in September 1995. For more
information about fuels and lubricants research, contact
Steven D. Marty,
Vice President, Phone (210) 522-5929, Fax (210) 522-3270,
Fuels and Lubricants Research Division,
Southwest Research Institute, P.O. Drawer 28510, San Antonio, Texas 78228-0510.
- Developed a laboratory fuel lubricity evaluation procedure that
correlates with a bench pump stand durability procedure to provide the Army the capability
to specify fuel requirements to control wear in diesel injection pumps.
- Successfully completed a three-year technology demonstration at
a U.S. Army base using aviation turbine fuel JP-8 in diesel-consuming combat, tactical,
and administrative ground equipment; provided assistance in solving non-routine problems
to enable worldwide adoption of a single kerosene-based fuel.
- TFLRF is using advanced analytical-instrumental chemometrics in
a petroleum quality analysis system protocol that will allow rapid on-site military or
civilian verification of fuel quality.
- Designed, fabricated, and field demonstrated a first generation
fuel filtration additive injection unit (FAU) to provide the Army with an as-needed
capability for using stabilizer, biocide, or orrosion-inhibitor antiwear additives or for
cleaning vehicle fuel cells. The U.S. Army and Marine Corps have each used the FAU in
successful field demonstrations.
- In concert with recent Clean Air Act and alternative fuels
legislation, TFLRF (SwRI) identified military vehicles, equipment, and fleets to be
evaluated for future use of cleaner burning, reformulated gasoline, M85, compressed
natural gas, and biodiesel (methyl soyate) fuels.
- Developed high-temperature liquid lubricant and fuel thermal
stability screening procedures for future Army battle tank low-heat rejection diesel
engines. An all-climate, year-round lubricant candidate was also identified and is
undergoing evaluation in Army high-output, lubricant-sensitive two-cycle diesel engines.
- TFLRF is conducting a cooperative program with industry to
develop vehicle and equipment fuel filter evaluation methodologies that will provide
industry and the Army with needed guidance in fuel system specifications and
- Provided rapid technical response capabilities for the U.S. Army
in support of Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm (ODS). This activity was
highlighted by efforts in fuel deterioration, flammability, cleanliness, and filtration
and failure analysis of diesel engine rotary-type fuel injection pumps. Selected Army and
Marine Corps equipment deployed during ODS used earlier TFLRF-developed technology in fuel
stability and alternative fuels applications, providing the military with timely
information and contributing to high-level equipment readiness.
and Vehicle Research Division Brochures
Fuels and Lubricants Research Brochures
SwRI Technical Divisions