Hypersonic wind tunnel

Hypersonic Wind Tunnel

Hypersonic wind tunnel

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A hypersonic wind tunnel is designed to generate a hypersonic flow field in the working section. The speed of these tunnels vary from Mach 5 to 15. As with supersonic wind tunnels, these types of tunnels must run intermittently with very high pressure ratios when initializing.Since the temperature drops with the expanding flow, the air inside has the chance of becoming liquefied. For that reason, preheating is particularly critical (the nozzle may require cooling). High pressure and temperature ratios can be produced with a shock tube.

Technological problems

There are several technological problems in designing and constructing a hyper-velocity wind tunnel:
  • supply of high temperatures and pressures for times long enough to perform a measurement
  • reproduction of equilibrium conditions
  • structural damage produced by over-heating
  • fast instrumentation
  • power requirements to run the tunnel
Simulations of a flow at 5.5 km/s, 45 km altitude would require tunnel temperatures of as much as 9000 K, and a pressure of 3 GPa (see discussion).

Hot shot wind tunnel

One form of HWT is known as a Gun Tunnel or hot shot tunnel (up to M=27), which can be used for analysis of flows past ballistic missiles, space vehicles in atmospheric entry, and plasma physics or heat transfer at high temperatures. It runs intermittently, like other high speed tunnels, but has a very low running time (less than a second).The method of operation is based on a high temperature and pressurized gas (air or...
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