Torque is among the most important of all the measured quantities, in applications ranging from characterizing high power gas turbines to determining the level of force required to open a screw cap on a medication container. As anyone who studied physics in high school should recall, torque is the tendency of a force to rotate an object about an axis, fulcrum, or pivot. Loosely speaking, torque is a measure of the turning force on an object such as a bolt or a flywheel. For example, pushing or pulling the handle of a wrench connected to a nut or bolt produces a torque (turning force) that loosens or tightens the nut or bolt. However, measuring torque accurately can be far from straightforward. This article offers an overview of one approach to reducing uncertainty in torque measurement using an example of turbine engine testing to illustrate the process.
This testing application involved an HBM customer who was repurposing large turbine engines, specifically jet engines, by converting them to run on either diesel fuel or natural gas. These converted engines would be used to generate electrical power in remote locations without access to power lines, such as off-shore oil-drilling platforms, undeveloped regions, etc.