Arc Jet Tunnel

Low Speed Wind Tunnel

Transonic Wind Tunnel

Supersonic Wind Tunnel

Hypersonic Shock Tunnel

Small Scale Wind Tunnels


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About the ARC

Arc Jet Tunnel
For more updates on the arc jet tunnel and its current research projects, please see the webpage for Dr. Maddalena's research group. An overview of the facility is presented here. The 1.6 MW Arc Jet Wind Tunnel is used to produce supersonic streams of extremely hot gas. The high enthalpy, long duration capability of this facility complements the capabilities of the other facilities at the ARC. The gas flowing through the arc jet is heated by a powerful electric arc to produce a gas stream with bulk temperatures ranging from 3000 to 5000 K. The facility is based on a Thermal Dynamics F-5000 arc heater, donated from the USAF Arnold Engineering Development Center, which is powered by a Halmar 1.6 MW DC power supply. In addition, the facility also consists of a nitrogen injection system, a water cooling system, a vacuum system, a probe traverse system and a facility monitoring and protection system.
The wind tunnel’s bulk total enthalpy output ranges from 4000 to 5800 kJ/kg, which is controlled by adjustments in the power supply’s output of current and the rate that gas is injected into the arc jet. The arc jet can be configured to produce a very peaked enthalpy distribution across the nozzle exit, which can give local total enthalpies roughly twice the bulk average level. Facility operations have demonstrated mass flow rates from 0.07–0.18 kg/s. The corresponding maximum run duration is 90–200 seconds. The maximum operating pressure for the arc jet is 20 atmospheres. A compressed air driven ejector pump provides vacuum conditions in the test section vessel during test runs. The ejector pump has produced test section pressures as low as 4.5 kPa (0.65 psia) without the arc jet running. A mechanical vacuum pump is available to provide a high initial vacuum in the facility’s 4.25 cubic meter tank. The vacuum capability of the facility enables the use of high expansion ratio nozzles with the arc jet. A programmable, 3-axis traverse system allows probe surveys to be performed within a space of 20 cm wide, 23 cm long and 30 cm deep (8 x 9 x 12 in.). This system can be used to mount models or test articles as well.


Above videos are of recent tests. The picture below was taken several years ago where the arc jet is not directly connected to the test section chamber.