Design and calibration of a high temperature continuous run electric arc wind tunnel

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Virginia Tech

The purpose of this thesis project was to design, construct and evaluate the performance of a high temperature continuous-run electric arc wind tunnel. A pilot model of such a facility was designed assuming that equilibrium air was the working gas. The pilot model facility was constructed and consisted of the following components; arc chamber, stagnation chamber, nozzle section, test and diffusor sections.

In the arc chamber, the air passes through the positive column of an electric arc there-by raising its stagnation temperature before entering the stagnation chamber. Also included in the design and construction were water cooling and waste disposal systems, air supply and vacuum systems, and electric arc power supply system and control.

An examination of tests performed in the electric-arc facility showed that a low density supersonic flow with a stagnation temperature of approximately 10,000 F could be produced. The power level for this flow was 36 kw; however, with an expected increase of power to 72 kw the stagnation temperature should be raised to 15,000 F. Since no valid technique for measuring temperatures of this magnitude has been perfected to the author's knowledge, these temperatures were calculated according to a method as outlined in the present thesis.

The present facility will present an opportunity for study in such topic areas as (1) Aerodynamic Ablation, (2) Magnetoaerodynamic studies and (3) Qualitative studies of chemically reacting gas flows.