Flow Bench

A side deliverable of this project is the design and construction of a flow bench. It will be used to flow test our mufflers and can be used by the CSC team on many other projects in the future.

What is a Flow Bench?

A flow bench is a tool used for testing the aerodynamic performance of engine components.  Its main use is for testing flow restriction of intake and exhaust ports on internal combustion engines.  From these tests, designers are able to effectively shave ports to ideal sizes and geometries for maximizing flow efficiency which in turn increases the power output of the engine. 

The device can also test the air passage qualities of air filters, manifolds, carburetors, and mufflers.  The ability to flow test components outside of the vehicle gives designers a controlled environment for predicting component performance for any application.  However, this is not just a test apparatus for the engine enthusiast; it can be used to test any component that channels a flowing gas or one that produces the flow of a gas. 

The design of a flow bench can be as simple as a Shop-Vac, a homemade manometer, a flow meter, and miscellaneous plumbing. Or it can be as complicated as an electronically intensive and expensive piece of ordered equipment.

Flow Bench Components

A test component is attached to the test stand with an adapter plate, which creates a seal with the settling chamber. Six axial flow vacuum motors are housed inside the flow box, which creates a vacuum in the forward system. A pressure gauge is used to measure the pressure drop at a given mass airflow rate determined by adjusting the number of motors in service.

There are six vacuum motors and five one way valves housed in the flow box. The one way valves are needed to keep the air from flowing backwards through motors not in use. One motor doesn’t have a valve because it is the variable power motor and will be used in all experiments.

Flow Bench Construction

The flow bench was entirely constructed on the U of I campus. Both the woodworking shop and the engineering machine shop were used. The complete drawing package is included on the documets page. The flow bench is able to flow up to 500 cfm and was designed and built entirely by Stealth CAT’s.