$10M elevates UArizona hypersonics facilities to national prominence
by Staff Writers
Tucson AZ (SPX) Jan 14, 2022
University of Arizona aerospace and mechanical engineering researchers have received $3.5 million in funding from the state of Arizona's investment in the New Economy Initiative and $6.5 million in federal support through the Department of Defense's Test Resource Management Center to upgrade hypersonic facilities and related research infrastructure.
The funding positions the university as a leading educational institution in the hypersonics field, said Alex Craig, an assistant professor of aerospace and mechanical engineering.
"We're moving our wind tunnel complex into a more capable realm that you typically don't see at universities, because it's usually reserved for government facilities like NASA," Craig said. "With these upgrades, we'll be able to provide impactful ground testing services to DOD and its contractors, NASA, and emerging private ventures supporting space and commercial travel, while still fulfilling our educational mission."
Wind tunnels blast air at high speeds past fixed objects, helping researchers better understand how similarly shaped objects, such as aircraft and missiles, behave in flight. Wind tunnel speed is represented by Mach number, with Mach 1 being equal to the speed of sound - about 761 mph at sea level.
UArizona is home to two hypersonic facilities and additional wind tunnels that permit testing from Mach 0 to Mach 5.
The Boundary-Layer Stability and Transition Laboratory, led by Craig, houses a 15-inch-diameter Mach 5 Ludwieg tube, also known as LT5. The Turbulence and Flow Control Laboratory is led by aerospace and mechanical engineering associate professor Jesse Little. Its newest addition is the Arizona Supersonic Wind Tunnel, which currently operates at speeds ranging from Mach 1.75 to Mach 4. The Mach number is changed by adding different nozzle blocks - 12 in total - which weigh about 1,800 pounds each.
The funding will support a suite of upgrades for both UArizona hypersonics facilities.
"The University of Arizona is a leader in hypersonics, and this new investment in our unique facilities will allow us to take this exciting research to new level," said University of Arizona President Robert C. Robbins. "We are grateful for the support of this program from the Arizona Board of Regents, Gov. Doug Ducey and the state legislature, and the funding from the federal government will amplify the impact of Arizona's investment in this important area of research."
"As a developer of tactical and strategic missile systems, wind tunnel testing is a core engineering discipline that we employ on nearly every product we design," said Roy Donelson, executive director and product area director of Strategic Engagement Systems, Strategic Missile Defense for Raytheon Missiles and Defense. "It often becomes a pacing item in our development programs due to a limited number of capable facilities, coupled with high demand across the aerospace industry. These upgrades will enable us to expand our relationship with UArizona to include not only accelerated product development, but also to grow the next generation of aerodynamicists through early, hands-on test experience."
Mach 5 Nozzle
In addition, Little recently received funding from the DOD's Minority-Serving Institution Program to extend the wind tunnel down to subsonic (below Mach 0.8) and transonic (Mach 0.8 to Mach 1.2) conditions. This will enable subsonic, transonic, supersonic and hypersonic testing - transforming the wind tunnel into the Arizona Polysonic Wind Tunnel.
Supersized Air Compression
"At present, we can perform one to three 15-second runs per day in ASWT," Little said. "The new air supply system will increase our capacity to eight to 10 30-second runs per day. This type of throughput is necessary to attract industry, and places us on par with some government facilities."
Automation to Speed Up Testing
The planned upgrades include a fast-opening valve and automation system that will vastly improve the lab's efficiency. The system enables an operator to input several pieces of information at once before a series of runs, then have those factors automatically adjusted between runs.
"The automation process is the most exciting part of this, for me," Craig said. "All of those things are putting us in a realm where LT5 can run 50, 60, 70 times a day with minimal operator input. Similar tunnels at universities can't get close to that in this type of facility, with the exception of the Air Force Academy."
Quiet Nozzle to Better Mirror Flight
"The end result is a nationally unique pair of Mach 5 wind tunnels at UArizona offering both quiet and conventional testing at an industry-relevant scale," Little said.
Iran tests solid-fuel satellite carrier rocket
Tehran (AFP) Jan 14, 2022
Iran's Revolutionary Guards tested last week a solid-fuel satellite carrier rocket, state media has reported quoting the force's aerospace commander as saying. Reports carried footage released by the elite force claiming to show the successful test of the rocket's primary propulsion engine. The test marked the first time Iran used a solid-fuel rocket rather than a liquid-fuel one, the Guards' aerospace commander Brigadier General Amirali Hajizadeh said on Thursday. Iran can now send more sat ... read more
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2024 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Statement Our advertisers use various cookies and the like to deliver the best ad banner available at one time. All network advertising suppliers have GDPR policies (Legitimate Interest) that conform with EU regulations for data collection. By using our websites you consent to cookie based advertising. If you do not agree with this then you must stop using the websites from May 25, 2018. Privacy Statement. Additional information can be found here at About Us.