Study of Skin Friction and Surface Regression Interaction via the Naphthalene Sublimation Technique

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Virginia Tech

This study explores the potential of the naphthalene sublimation technique to be used to analyze the manner in which surfaces regress, specifically focusing on the effect that skin friction has on regression and vice versa. For this experimentation, a flat steel plate installed with three skin friction sensors was coated with naphthalene via a mechanized sprayer and was installed in the wall of the Ahmic Aerospace Turbulent Boundary Layer Research supersonic wind tunnel. The plate and sensor configuration was subjected to three subsequent tunnel runs at Mach 2.31. This process was repeated at plenum pressures of 0.35 MPa and 0.69 MPa, which correspond to Reynolds Numbers of 1.4x10^7/m and 2.8x10^7/m. Between the first and final run, a -4.7% and -3.7% percent change in the coefficient of friction was seen at the 0.35 MPa and 0.69 MPa plenum conditions, respectively. Images of the plate taken before and after each run qualitatively indicate continual naphthalene regression with each subsequent tunnel run. This decrease in the coefficient of friction was attributed in part to the regression of the naphthalene coating, indicating that this method has the potential to be used to study the interaction between skin friction and regressing surfaces. Additionally, this study showed that it is certainly possible to measure skin friction with sensors where both the head of the movable sensor element and the surrounding wall is coated with sprayed naphthalene.

Regressing Surfaces, Naphthalene Sublimation Technique, Wall Shear, Skin Friction