Hot Graphite Models in Axisymmetric Configurations for Re-entry Simulation in Wind Tunnels

Snuderl, Leon (2017) Hot Graphite Models in Axisymmetric Configurations for Re-entry Simulation in Wind Tunnels. [USQ Project]


The project presented aims to develop the capability for thermal atmospheric re-entry phenomena to be investigated using the hypersonic wind tunnel located at the USQ Toowoomba campus. The goal is to construct an apparatus compatible with the facility, and provide a means of heating a sample material to the conditions which spacecraft experience during atmospheric re-entry flight.

The wind tunnel facility is specifically equipped and utilised for the study of hypersonic fluid flow, evaluating aerodynamic performance of sample objects. Expansion into the realm of heat transfer would allow for the study of phenomena such as the oxidation and ablation of materials within hypersonic fluid flow conditions. Oxidation and ablation being prime examples as they are fundamental aspects of design consideration for the development of heat shield technologies for use on spacecraft. The project will create opportunity for such studies to be undertaken in the future with the inclusion of hypersonic aerodynamic conditions.

Apparatuses were designed to secure 2-5mm thick disc samples of graphite with diameters of 30mm and 50mm in the test section of the USQ hypersonic wind tunnel. The enthalpy input to the system was applied via an oxygen-acetylene torch process through a gas welding tip nozzle. The apparatus was experimentally tested to assess suitability for heating and to determine the approximate attainable temperature of the graphite in the proposed configuration. Temperatures were estimated using comparable data on the ratios of red, green and blue light signals captured by a high speed colour camera and those captured during controlled calibration testing with an integrating sphere. The data collected appeared to provide adequate evidence that temperature as high as 3000 Kelvin were attained on the graphite samples, however only in such a restricted surface area correlating to a spot of approximately 5 mm in diameter on the samples.

A feasibility assessment on incorporating this apparatus into the USQ hypersonic wind tunnel was subsequently carried out to reveal future challenges in integrating the necessary procedural steps from the heating experiment into the test section for conducting simulations. Such challenges include creating remotely triggered systems for oxygen-acetylene torch ignition and fuel flow control, along with a cooling system for the apparatus and a ventilation system to remove the product gas fumes from the test section.

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Item Type: USQ Project
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Bachelor of Engineering (Mechanical)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering (1 Jul 2013 - 31 Dec 2021)
Supervisors: Buttsworth, David
Date Deposited: 08 Sep 2022 04:39
Last Modified: 08 Sep 2022 04:39
Uncontrolled Keywords: hypersonic wind tunnel; wind tunnels

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