Since 1990, Energy Research Consultants (ERC) has studied and characterized a wide array of combustion systems and components for various applications in over 3,000 square feet of research facilities located in Laguna Hills, California.

The following briefly describes the current capabilities in terms of facilities and diagnostics. ERC is continually evolving both facility and diagnostic capabilities and encourages discussion regarding applications for which the current capabilities appear to fall short.


ERC has six test stands, three of which are primarily utilized for study of gas and liquid fired combustion systems and/or components. Two of the test stands are operated in an upfired manner and have exhausting capable of handling 6 lbs/sec of flow generated by devices fired with 1MW of fuel input. The second stand is designed for liquid fired operation at similar capacities. All facilities offer 3 axes of traversing with digital readouts for relative position. The fluid delivery systems are interchangeable between the three stands.


ERC has four independent air generation sources producing the following flows:

  • 0.05 lbs/s (40 SCFM) at pressures up to 150 psig
  • 0.15 lbs/sec (120 SCFM) at pressures up to 125 psig
  • 1.00 lbs/s at pressures up to 1.2 psig
  • 2.00 lbs/s at pressures up to 3 psig.
  • 0.80 lbs/sec at pressures up to 10 psig
  • 1.0 lbs/sec vitiated air at 1340 F at 200 m/s

In addition, 50 kW of non-vitiated preheating is available. Monitoring of air pressure, flow, temperature, and humidity is available via transducers and associated data acquisition interfaces.


ERC has experience running the following distillate and non-distillate liquids:

  • Gasoline
  • Diesel
  • Calibration Fluid (MIL-C-7024D-Type II)
  • Jet-A
  • Fischer-Tropsch derived
  • Bio Diesel
  • Heptane
  • Acetone
  • Water
  • Water/glycerin
  • Viscor

Five pumps are available:

  • 1 gpm distillate fuel @ 300 psig
  • 3 gpm water @3000 psig
  • 10 gpm water @ 300 psig
  • 100 gpm water @ 150 psig
  • 1.4 gpm distillate fuel @ 600 psig

In addition, low pressure, low flow rates (to below 1 g/s) operation can be accomplished using an enclosed pressure container driving liquids with an inert gas pressure head up to 150 psig. In all cases, computer based monitoring of liquid flow rate, temperature and pressure is available via transducers and associated data acquisition interfaces. Multiple liquid circuits can be operated and monitored simultaneously (e.g., pilot and main stages).


ERC can flow up to 1MW of natural gas. In addition, additional fuel handling to provide higher hydrocarbons such as ethane, propane and butane is available. Also, hydrogen and diluents such as carbon dioxide and nitrogen can be accommodated.


ERC personnel have considerable experience with a wide range of diagnostics as applied to a variety of reacting and non-reacting sprays. Applications range from complex reacting gas turbine combustor environments to individual injector characterization under quiescent ambient conditions. In addition, a variety of conventional diagnostics are also available.



A Malvern 2600C laser diffraction particle sizer is available to provide line-of-sight measurement of particle size distributions and particle concentration. This well established method of characterizing sprays provides a relatively rapid and consistent measurement with little user controls. ERC has optical arrangements to facilitate measurement of fine particles (1.2 microns) to those approaching 2 mm in diameter. ERC personnel have extensive experience in optimizing optical setups, dealing with potential issues such as beam steering, sample clipping, correction for laser extinction, and presentation and interpretation of results obtained using LD.


A two component phase Doppler interferometry system with frequency domain processing (both TSI FSA3500 and Aerometrics DSA 3200) is available which can be applied in a variety of ways. While primarily utilized to measure the joint distribution of particle size and two components of velocity at a point, it can also be utilized to measure flow field velocities in the absence of droplets or in the presence of droplets. Data reduction programs have been developed at ERC to provide tabulated results in a wide variety of formats. While more complex and time consuming to apply compared to LD, PDI provides considerably more information regarding the spray behavior and characteristics. In particular, it can provide the inlet conditions necessary for accurate computation fluid dynamics calculations. ERC personnel regularly apply PDI to both reacting and non-reacting sprays and have extensive experience in reducing and tabulating data for model validation and/or further interpretation, including time resolved details and frequency analysis. ERC has an exhaustive expertise of the limitations of the PDI technique and error analyses associated with these measurements.


ERC maintains a variety of optics to produce sheets or beams of laser light from either cw (e.g., Ar+ ) or pulsed (e.g., Nd:YAG) lasers. Such lighting, when scattered by the droplets, can be imaged onto an advanced CCD video camera (Canon L2 Hi-8). The camera can operate as both a video recorder or as a digital still camera with full user control over exposure (aperture and shutter speed). Close-up adapters are available to provide up to 30X magnification. In addition, ERC has the capability to extract frames from the video to conduct analysis (e.g., line profiles, comparison of images, etc.) as well as produce high quality video presentation of phenomena of interest. Various filters are utilized to isolate laser wavelengths and chemiluminescence from species of interest. The Nd:YAG laser can generate 4 ns pulses with energy levels sufficient to “freeze” the spray structure even with extreme magnification. This is useful in characterizing the highly complex breakup region.


A technique related to PELSI is planar liquid laser induced fluorescence (PLLIF). In this case, rather than obtaining qualitative images, fluorescence is utilized to provide quantitative characterization of the spatial distribution of the liquid material.


Extending the PLIFF technique, ERC has completed a Phase II SBIR program to develop a quantitative approach to the characterization of the spatial and temporal distribution of sprays (“optical patternation”). The technique corrects for both the attenuation of the incident light as it travels through the spray and the signal as it travels from the spray to the camera. A UV sensitive, intensified 16-bit CCD camera is available for quantitative optical patternation.


ERC has the capability to measure the time-averaged concentration of vapor present within unconfined hydrocarbon sprays using a two-wavelength extinction technique. While a line-of-sight technique, spatially resolved information can be obtained for axisymmetric fields by deconvolving a series of parallel scans. This technique has been utilized to obtain time-resolved information as well.


High speed video up to 100,000 frames per sec with 1 microsecond exposure.


Measurements of particle velocity by tracking particle displacement with double pulsed laser and imaging.



For reacting sprays, ERC has the capability of measuring emissions including unburned hydrocarbons, oxygen, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, and oxides of nitrogen. In-situ samples are obtained using water-cooled extractive probes. ERC has implemented sophisticated data reduction tools for quality assurance, analysis, interpretation, and presentation of results. The spatial distribution of gaseous fuel can be determined through the use of microprobes and a flame ionization detector.


A variety of thermocouples are utilized to obtain in-situ temperature measurements.


ERC has a wide variety of calibration devices, methods, and experience for quality control of all diagnostics and instrumentation.


ERC applies commercial CFD codes (Fluent or CFD-ACE) to model spray behavior.


To learn more about ERC Facilities Specifications, please download the Spray Capabilities PDF file by clicking below.