Simultaneous direct measurements of skin friction and heat flux in a supersonic flow

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Virginia Tech


A new gage which can measure skin friction and heat flux simultaneously was designed, constructed, and tested. This gage is the combination of a non-nulling type skin friction balance and a heat flux microsensor. By mounting the heat flux microsensor directly on the surface of the floating element of the skin friction balance, it was possible to perform simultaneous measurements of the skin friction and the heat flux. The total thickness of the heat flux microsensor is less than 2 μm, so the presence of this microsensor creates negligible disruption on the thermal and the mechanical characteristics of the air flow. Tests were conducted in the Virginia Tech supersonic wind tunnel. The nominal Mach number was 2.4, and Reynolds number per meter was 4.87 x 10⁷ with total pressure of 5.2 atm and total temperature of 300 °K. Results of the tests showed that this new gage was quite reliable and could be used repeatably in the supersonic flow. This gage also has an active heating system inside of the cantilever beam of the skin friction balance so that the surface temperature of the floating element can be controlled as desired. With these features, the effects of a temperature mismatch between the gage surface and the surrounding wall on the measurements of the skin friction and the heat flux were investigated. An infrared radiometer was used to measure the surface temperature distributions. Without the active heating, the amount of temperature mismatch generated by the gage itself was from 2.5 °K to 4.5 °K. The active heating produced the temperature mismatch of 18.7 °K. The largest temperature mismatch corresponds to the levels typically found in high heat flux cases when it is expressed in dimensionless terms. This temperature mismatch made sizable effects — a 24 % increase in the skin friction measurement and a 580 % increase in the heat flux measurements. These experimental results were compared with the computational results using the Computational Fluid Dynamics code GASP. The input flow conditions were obtained from the boundary layer measurements. The temperature mismatch was input by specifying the density and the pressure at each grid point on the wall. The Baldwin-Lomax algebraic turbulence model was used with the thin layer approximations. The comparison showed that the difference in the skin friction and heat flux was less than 10 % of the measured data when the temperature mismatch was less than 8.5 °K, but the difference was increased as the amount of the temperature mismatch increased. It is presumed that the disagreement between the measurements and the calculations was caused mainly by deficiencies in the turbulence model for this complex, developing viscous flow, because the Baldwin-Lomax model cannot account for the multiple length scale in this flow.