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Mav Roundup

Arc-Jet Milestone

Research team advances hypersonic research

Luca Maddalena with the Aerodynamic Research Center team.

Luca Maddalena (front) with the Aerodynamic Research Center team.

A team from the Aerodynamic Research Center (ARC) at UTA has pioneered two cutting-edge measurement techniques in its state-of-the-art arc-jet plasma wind tunnel.

The research team accomplished two milestones: measuring the composition of atomic species and measuring flow velocity in the high enthalpy environment generated in the ARC’s arc-jet plasma wind tunnel. Enthalpy is a measure of the energy contained in the hypersonic flow.

“The arc-jet environment is an extremely challenging one for optical diagnostics,” says Luca Maddalena, professor of aerospace engineering and ARC director. “This development is spectacular in overcoming those challenges and also in leading the way for others.”

UTA’s arc-heated, hypersonic wind tunnel—the only one of its kind in the nation at a university—came online in 2019. Through funding from the Office of Naval Research (ONR), research at the wind tunnel focuses on developing advanced laser-based measurements of plasma flow for the study of heat shields for hypersonic vehicles.

Eric Marineau, ONR manager for the project, said the team’s work crossed a major hurdle in the understanding of hypersonic aerothermodynamics.

“This is exciting news for the U.S. Navy and the entire hypersonic research world,” he says.

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