Cold Flow Testing of a Modified Subscale Model Exhaust System for a Space Based Laser, Air University, 9781249450504


The aim of this research was a continued study of gas-dynamic phenomena that occurred in a set of stacked nozzles as reported by Captains Ian Bautista in 2003 and Scott Bergren in 2002. The arrangement of the stacked nozzles was a modified version of a 1/5th scale-model of one quadrant of the conceptual Space Based Laser Integrated Flight Experiment (SBL IFX) gas dynamic laser. Rather than cylindrical rings of nozzles, the stacked nozzles were flat and able to be rotated about a vector normal to the nozzle exits. This set of stacked flat nozzles was installed on a blow-down/vacuum wind tunnel, which in addition to the nozzles, consisted of a stilling chamber, centerbody, supersonic diffuser, and transition structure to join the vacuum and test sections. The goals of this research were two fold; first, modify the original scale-model of the stacked cylindrical rings of nozzles so schlieren photography could be used to visualize an average flow field across the nozzles. Secondly, using the schlieren photographs, in conjunction with pressure data, observe the interactions between the individual nozzles. Results have shown that the modified nozzle array produces a vastly complex flow field as well as a highly supersonic flow regime, with Mach numbers that reach as high as 5.6.

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