Design of a supersonic shock tunnel and experimental surface measurements

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

The design, development, construction, and instrumentation features of a supersonic shock tunnel that produced high temperature supersonic flow for a short duration, on the order of 2 msec, are presented. The shock tunnel was equipped with a Mach 3 supersonic 2-D nozzle. Test runs were conducted using air and helium drivers at driving pressures varying from 200-450 psig (1.4-3.1 MPa gage), with the driven gas in all the cases being ambient air. Pressure and temperature measurements were made to document the operating conditions of the tunnel. Total pressure measurements were made in the settling chamber of the nozzle where the flow Mach number is 0.14 (weakly subsonic). Static pressure measurements were made at the exit of the nozzle to establish the unsteady starting process of the nozzle. Total temperature measurements using thermocouples were made in the settling chamber of the nozzle to identify the maximum temperature attained in the flow. Surface heat flux measurements were made at the exit of the nozzle and compared with previous skin friction measurements.

The measured pressures and temperatures compared well with the predicted values for the air driver. In the case of the test runs with the helium driver the nozzle started, but the flow was unsteady. Consequently, there were difficulties in making measurements and interpreting them. The surface heat flux and skin friction followed the Reynold's analogy within 50% during the steady run time of the shock tunnel.