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U.S. ARMY TARDEC Fuels & Lubricants Research Facility


Technologies and Accomplishments

The U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) Fuels and Lubricants Research Facility at Southwest Research Institute functions as a dedicated in-house extension of the Army's Tank-automotive and Armaments Command (TACOM) in Warren, Mich.  The TARDEC facility's technology areas include:

  • Characterization of fuel and lubricant properties and compositions

  • Prediction, analysis, and correlation of fuel and lubricant properties with equipment performance

  • Alternative fuel and lubricant utilization criteria

  • Development of bench and engine evaluation methodologies

  • Friction studies and wear mapping for components and systems

  • Fuel lubricity

  • Fuel lubricant equipment interactions

  • Diesel, turbine engine combustion and performance mapping analysis

  • Fluid flammability and combustion

  • Halon extinguishing alternatives

  • Failure analysis

  • Field and fleet evaluations 

Accomplishment Highlights:

  • Developed a laboratory fuel lubricity evaluation procedure that correlates with a bench pump stand durability procedure to provide the Army with the capability to specify fuel requirements to control wear in diesel injection pumps.

  • Successfully completed a three-year technology demonstration at a U.S. Army base using aviation turbine fuel JP-8 in diesel-consuming combat, tactical, and administrative ground equipment; provided assistance in solving non-routine problems to enable worldwide adoption of a single kerosene-based fuel.

  • Advanced analytical-instrumental chemometrics in a petroleum quality analysis system protocol that will allow rapid on-site military or civilian verification of fuel quality.

  • Designed, fabricated and field demonstrated a first generation fuel filtration additive injection unit (FAU) to provide the Army with an as-needed capability for using stabilizer, biocide, or corrosion-inhibitor antiwear additives or for cleaning vehicle fuel cells. The U.S. Army and Marine Corps have each used the FAU in successful field demonstrations.

  • Identified military vehicles, equipment, and fleets in concert with recent Clean Air Act and alternative fuels legislation, to be evaluated for future use of cleaner burning, reformulated gasoline, M85, compressed natural gas, and biodiesel (methyl soyate) fuels.

  • Developed high-temperature liquid lubricant and fuel thermal stability screening procedures for future Army battle tank low-heat rejection diesel engines. An all-climate, year-round lubricant candidate was also identified and is undergoing evaluation in Army high-output, lubricant-sensitive two-cycle diesel engines.

  • Conducted a cooperative program with industry to develop vehicle and equipment fuel filter evaluation methodologies that will provide industry and the Army with needed guidance in fuel system specifications and standardization.

  • Provided rapid technical response capabilities for the U.S. Army in support of Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm (ODS). This activity was highlighted by efforts in fuel deterioration, flammability, cleanliness, and filtration and failure analysis of diesel engine rotary-type fuel injection pumps. Selected Army and Marine Corps equipment deployed during ODS used earlier TARDEC facility-developed technology in fuel stability and alternative fuels applications, providing the military with timely information and contributing to high-level equipment readiness.

For more information about the TARDEC facility at SwRI or how you can contract with the TARDEC facility or SwRI, contact Gary Bessee at or (210) 522-6941.


Contact Information

Gary Bessee

U.S. Army TARDEC Fuels & Lubricants Research Facility

(210) 522-6941

Related Terminology

fuel research

lubricant research


government-owned contractor-operated



fire resistant technology

biodiesel fuel technology

hydrogen technology

filtration and fine particle technology

synthetic jet fuel

fuel nozzles

fuels and fluids

fuel and lubricant


aviation fuel filters

independent research lab

Related Links

Fuels and Lubricants Technology Department




Click here

Site Map

U.S. Army TARDEC Fuels and Lubricants (TFLRF) Brochure


Fuels and Lubricants Technology Dept.

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Southwest Research Institute® (SwRI®), headquartered in San Antonio, Texas, is a multidisciplinary, independent, nonprofit,

applied engineering and physical sciences research and development organization with 9 technical divisions.

August 07, 2014