The experimental flow characterization of the arc-heated wind tunnel of the University of Texas at Arlington is investigated in this work using ablative Teflon probes in combination with total pressure measurements. A parallel analytical work, focused on the dimensional analysis of the ablation process, has been conducted with the purpose of improving existing semi-empirical correlations for the heat blockage due to the mass injection inside the boundary layer. A control volume analysis at the receding surface of the specimens is used to calculate the wall heat transfer for a non-ablating probe by including the blockage effect. The new correlations, obtained for the convective blockage, show an improvement of the correlation coefficient of 110 % with respect to those available in literature, once a new blowing parameter containing the stagnation pressure is introduced. A correlation developed by NASA during the Round-Robin program, which relates the Teflon mass loss rate to the total pressure and cold-wall heat flux measured experimentally, is also used to predict the wall heat transfer referred to the ablation temperature of Teflon. For both approaches, a simplified stagnation point convective heat transfer equation allows the average stagnation enthalpy to be calculated. Several locations downstream of the nozzle exit have been surveyed, and selected points of the facility’s performance map have been used for the experimental campaign. The results show that both approaches provide similar results in terms of stagnation heat flux and enthalpy prediction with uncertainties comparable to those provided by standard intrusive heat flux probes (δ q max < 25 %). The analysis of the Teflon’s ablated surface does not reveal significant flow non-uniformities, and a 1.14 heat flux enhancement factor due to the shock–shock interaction is detectable at x = 3.5 in. from the nozzle exit plane. The results show the use of ablative probes for the flow characterization of arc plasma facilities to be promising for the dual purpose of calculating the local flow properties (i.e., heat flux and enthalpy) as well as verifying the uniformity of the flow by inspecting the footprint of the plume on the exposed surfaces.
Experiments in Fluids – Springer Journals
Published: Jan 31, 2014
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