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Visualization of flow structure around a hypersonic re-entry capsule using the electrical discharge method

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Abstract

The spatial flowfield around a model of the re-entry capsule of the Mars Environmental Survey (MESUR) Pathfinder probe afterbody configuration traveling at a speed of Mach 10 was investigated utilizing the electrical discharge method. The shock shape ahead of the capsule was observed using a technique for visualizing 3-D shock shapes, then the streamline following the shock wave was observed utilizing a technique for visualizing streamlines crossing a shock wave. Subsequently, the flowfield behind the capsule was observed by applying a technique for visualizing flow patterns. From these observations, the spatial flow construction including the wake region such as a separation, free shear layer, and rear stagnation location behind the capsule was made clear. These experiments utilizing the electrical discharge method qualitatively demonstrated the spatial flow structure before and behind the hypersonic re-entry capsule, which had been very difficult to visualize. These experiments were carried out by using a pulsed facility of 18 ms duration.

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Author information

Correspondence to Masatomi Nishio.

Additional information

Masatomi Nishio: He received his doctor degree from Kobe University. He has been interested in hypersonic flow visualization, and has developed the Electrical Discharge Method for visualizing 3-D hypersonic flow phenomena. He is a professor of Fukuyama University in Japan.

Shinji Sezaki: He is a Ph. D. candidate in Department of Mechanical Engineering at Fukuyama University, Japan. He received his M.S. degree in 2001 from Fukuyama University. His research interests are flow visualizations around hypersonic vehicles by using Electrical Discharge Method.

Hiroaki Nakamura: He is a Ph. D. candidate in the school of Design and Production Engineering at Fukuyama University, Fukuyama, Japan. He received his M.Eng. degree in 2002 from the Department of Mechanical Engineering, Fukuyama University.

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Nishio, M., Sezaki, S. & Nakamura, H. Visualization of flow structure around a hypersonic re-entry capsule using the electrical discharge method. J Vis 7, 151–158 (2004). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF03181588

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Keywords

  • Hypersonic flow visualization
  • Electrical discharge method
  • Re-entry capsule
  • Wake
  • Flow structure
  • Hypersonic flow