Sandia National Laboratories
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Thermal Test Complex
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Visitor Information

Thermal Test Complex

Sandia National Laboratories' Thermal Test Complex (TTC) in Albuquerque, New Mexico, provides a controlled environment in which to demonstrate the performance of components and assemblies under a variety of abnormal thermal environments. This controlled environment provides an ideal setting on which to develop and validate response models.

The facility conducts thermal testing under controlled temperatures (up to 2,200 C) or programmed heat fluxes (up to 200 W/cm2). Simulated fire tests can provide simultaneous control of both heat flux and source temperature (radiation spectrum). The simulated fire setup allows a "dial-a-fire" approach to thermal testing.


Typical simulated fire test characteristics include

  • Temperature up to 1200 C
  • Rise rate up to 20 C/s
  • Heat flux up to 150 kW/m2
  • Heated area up to 15 m2

The facility has exceptional instrumentation capabilities. It gathers data from a variety of instruments. Temperature and heat flux calibrators are available for

  • Thermocouples
  • Optical pyrometers and infrared cameras
  • Gardon gauges
  • Slug calorimeters
  • Transpiration radiometers

The Thermal Test Complex's capabilities can meet a broad range of customer needs for a single test or a series of testing and evaluation scenarios. Pulse-soak tests are nondestructive tests that provide a uniform boundary condition to produce data for developing and validating thermal numerical models and measurement installations.

The facility can also perform tests to

  • Determine failure levels
  • Demonstrate system integrity
  • Develop and validate thermal numerical models

methanol burn

In addition, the Cylindrical Boiling facility (CYBL) and the Solar Receiver Test Series use the Thermal Test Complex's technology. The CYBL is adjacent to the TTC and simulates a full-scale nuclear reactor vessel for studying advanced safety concepts. The Solar Receiver Test Series included performance-testing a 5-MW cavity-type solar receiver and testing the stability of operation and control methods of the final prototype that was installed in a solar-electric generating facility in California.

Additional Information

The Thermal Test Complex is close to Sandia's other testing sites and maintains a variety of data/instrumentation equipment. For shipping and travel purposes, the sites are conveniently located near Albuquerque International Airport and two interstate highways. Sandia can perform the complete tests from theoretical model development to execution and data analysis.


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Randall D. Watkins
(505) 844-3387

Sylvia Gomez
(505) 845-3284