Boeing Technology Services -- Environmental Testing

Arc Heater Laboratory

Wedge Ablator Test in Large Core Arc Tunnel

The Boeing Arc Heater Laboratory is a well-established provider of high temperature testing services. As the only commercial arc-jet facility in the U.S., it has a long history of designing and conducting diverse types of tests and test techniques to satisfy unique customer requirements.

The Large Core Arc Tunnel (LCAT) arc-jet facility supports the development of heat shield and temperature-resistant materials applicable to spacecraft and advanced weapon systems.

A secondary test site houses the T58 Hot Gas Generator, a small gas turbine engine which provides moderate temperature flow environments for evaluating materials and thermal control schemes in a turbojet-type exhaust environment.

Large Core Arc Tunnel (LCAT) Facility:

The LCAT facility is a vacuum-exhaust arc-jet facility utilizing the "MDC-200" Huels-type arc heater.

The high pressure design of the MDC-200 arc heater provides extremely reliable service in the typically low pressure operating regime of the LCAT facility.

Normal DC power input to the MDC-200 is variable from a few hundred kilowatts to approximately five megawatts, providing a wide operating range.

A variety of super-sonic nozzles can be fitted to the MDC-200 arc heater to further provide different test environments and satisfy specific test requirements.

Similar to larger U.S. government arc-jet facilities, the LCAT facility can accommodate both "wedge" and "stagnation" test requirements.

LCAT Facility Features:


  • Five-position specimen insertion mechanism, with protected instrumentation housing
  • Water-cooled "Wedge" and "Stagnation" test fixtures
  • Flow diagnostic plates and probes for heat flux and pressure measurements
  • Type "K", "R", "S", and "C" thermocouple instrumentation
  • Pyrometers and imaging IR cameras for non-contact temperature measurements
  • Modern PC-based data acquisition/processing systems - immediate data availability
  • Axi-symmetric supersonic nozzles: 1.5" to 20" exit diameters
  • Square and rectangular supersonic nozzles: 0.5" x 0.5", 0.8" x 1.3", and 3" x 3" exits
  • Semi-elliptic nozzles
  • Stagnation heat flux levels from 40 to 4000+ W/cm2
  • Wedge heat flux levels from 1 to 2000+ W/cm2
  • Rugged, continuous operation steam ejector system for vacuum generation
  • Ability to operate on gases and gas mixtures other than air
  • Video and "still" digital cameras to document in-test specimen performance
  • Semi-automated non-contact specimen measurement system to document pre- and post-test specimen topography
  • Small, dedicated test crew providing high test throughput


To join the many companies using testing resources available at The Boeing Company, contact the Boeing Technology Services Marketing Manager at 206-662-1478, request a quote online, or e-mail us for more information about our test capabilities.