Radiatively driven hypersonic wind tunnel

R. Miles, G. Brown, W. Lempert, D. Natelson, R. Yetter, J. Guest, G. Williams, S. Bogdonofff

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

9 Scopus citations


This paper outlines a new approach to die design of hypersonic wind tunnels. This new approach is motivated by fundamental limitations of conventional isentropic expansions which arise from the very high temperatures required to achieve the necessary enthalpy for hypersonic flow. These high temperatures lead to excessive throat degradation and contaminated air in the test section. The consequence is that the run times of conventional facilities must be short and tests arc conducted in "air" of unknown composition containing exceedingly high concentrations of radical and superequilibrium species such as NO as well as ablated plenum and throat material. The radiatively driven wind tunnel approach takes advantage of the real gas properties of air to achieve high enthalpy at low temperature in the plenum, thus minimizing throat degradation and suppressing the formation of unwanted species in the plenum. Additional energy is radiatively added downstream of the throat in the expansion section in order to achieve the desired test conditions. The temperature of the air is kept low throughout the expansion, so the formation of superequilibrium species and radicals is kept to a minimum. Radiative sources that couple to air include high power lasers and microwave devices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
StatePublished - 1994
EventAIAA 25th Plasmadynamics and Lasers Conference, 1994 - Colorado Springs, United States
Duration: Jun 20 1994Jun 23 1994


OtherAIAA 25th Plasmadynamics and Lasers Conference, 1994
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityColorado Springs

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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