Hypersonic Experimental Aerothermoelastic Test (HEAT)

The extreme environmental conditions experienced in hypersonic flight can cause structural deformations and unsteady responses. Furthermore, the heating rates and maximum temperatures can vary significantly over the surface of a vehicle. Temperature gradients can also exist through the vehicle skin.

HEAT is an experiment that characterizes the fluid-thermal-structure coupling of a full-scale curved panel through a series of tests at hypersonic speeds in a wind tunnel. HEAT is designed to produce validation-quality data for high-fidelity coupled fluid-thermal-structure models of a curved panel in hypersonic flow. The HEAT project is funded by the US Air Force under the Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program.

The location of the HEAT wind tunnel testing is within the von Karman Gas Dynamics Facility at the Arnold Engineering Development Complex (AEDC), Arnold Air Force Base (AAFB), near Tullahoma, Tennessee. The von Karman Gas Dynamics Facility (VKF) provides aerothermal ground test simulations of hypersonic flight over a wide range of velocities and pressure altitudes. AEDC is a ground-based flight test facility operated by the Air Force Test Center (AFTC).

The primary objective of the HEAT project is to perform tests that characterize the aerothermoelastic response of a curved panel in hypersonic flow. In addition to curved panel testing, Focused Laser Differential Interferometry (FLDI) measurements were performed by our STTR research partner, the California Institute of Technology, to characterize the free-stream turbulence environment of the hypersonic wind tunnel that is important as an input for validation.

HEAT produces a validation-quality dataset from a coupled fluid-thermal-structure experiment of a full-scale curved panel. The panel is designed to incorporate state-of-the-art sensors for the measurement of its structural response (e.g., stresses, accelerations, deflections) as well as provide information about the surface quantities relevant to the aerodynamic (e.g., pressure, skin friction) and thermal environments (e.g., surface temperature, temperature gradients).

Hypersonic Experimental Aerothermoelastic Test (HEAT)
Global Aerospace Corporation designed, fabricated and instrumented the HEAT test article shown here mounted inside the wind tunnel.

DISTRIBUTION A. Approved for public release: distribution unlimited. PA# 96TW-2019-0446

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