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Center Innovation Fund: JSC CIF

Testbed For Aerothermal Test Technique Development

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

While computational modeling is going to great lengths to reduce the cost of defining aeroheating environments required for space access vehicles, inaccuracies in physical models limit the extent to which the simulations can be trusted. Verifying simulation accuracy and improving the quality of models requires wind tunnel tests which are currently very costly. It is proposed that a very low cost wind tunnel be developed at JSC to provide engineers with the ability to directly run small tests.

It is proposed that a very low cost wind tunnel could be developed at JSC to provide engineers with the ability to directly run small tests focused on improving existing capabilities without the cost and overhead of the traditional facilities. This capability, coupled with advanced data reduction technique development projects underway in EG3, could bring down the cost of future wind tunnel testing through improved testing, instrumentation, and data reduction techniques. Potential improvements to testing techniques aim to reduce the high-temperature constraints on testing facilities due to current data reduction techniques, increasing the number of facilities available for consideration and reducing cost and turnaround time for low-budget, rapid development projects across the agency. Furthermore, having engineers working directly with test hardware will improve product quality by bringing down barriers in understanding and communication often observed between computational engineers at JSC and experimentalists at our contracted test facilities and other NASA centers. A small Ludwieg tube wind tunnel will be designed. This type of tunnel is simple to operate and has low requirements for machinery and high-pressure equipment, making it safe and cheap. A review of 'traditional' facilities will be conducted to define the tunnel operating conditions necessary to make it a relevant testbed for technique development. Once conditions are defined, the requirements of a necessary data acquisition system will be determined with the help of a bench test radiant lamp constructed to target heating levels expected from the Ludwieg tube. The extent to which the proposed tunnel will aid the development of test technique improvements will be studied. The intended product of this activity is a report detailing the specifications and cost of the proposed wind tunnel with discussion of the direct impact on several proposed test technique improvements.

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This is a historic project that was completed before the creation of TechPort on October 1, 2012. Available data has been included. This record may contain less data than currently active projects.

A final report document may be available for this project. If you would like to request it, please contact us.