Dirty Flow in Hypersonic Wind Tunnels

Aircraft tested in the NACA Ames 40' x 80' wind tunnel (source: NASA photo, https://media.defense.gov/2011/Jul/01/2000241499/780/780/0/441014-O-0000U-985.JPG).

Posted on October 14, 2020 | Completed on August 11, 2020 | By: Defense Systems Information Analysis Center (DSIAC)

What defines hypersonic wind tunnel testing with “dirty flow?”

DSIAC was asked to define “dirty flow” in regards to hypersonic wind tunnel testing, specifically what limitations are associated with such testing (speed, debris used, etc.).  DSIAC subject matter experts at the Texas Research Institute Austin, Inc., detailed the purpose, process involved, and drawbacks of dirty flow testing.

Particulate matter within hypersonic flows in wind tunnel testing is often used as part of flow visualization in hypersonic experiments, particularly for impulse experiments. The presence of particulate matter within the flow can cause a number of issues and disturbances for both testing and modeling.


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