Experiments in Fluids

, Volume 48, Issue 6, pp 949–965

An improved visualization-based force-measurement technique for short-duration hypersonic facilities

Research Article


This article is concerned with describing and exploring the limitations of an improved version of a recently proposed visualization-based technique for the measurement of forces and moments in short-duration hypersonic wind tunnels. The technique is based on tracking the motion of a free-flying body over a sequence of high-speed visualizations; while this idea is not new in itself, the use of high-speed digital cinematography combined with a highly accurate least-squares tracking algorithm allows improved results over what have been previously possible with such techniques. The technique precision is estimated through the analysis of artificially constructed and experimental test images, and the resulting error in acceleration measurements is characterized. For wind-tunnel scale models, position measurements to within a few microns are shown to be readily attainable. Image data from two previous experimental studies in the T5 hypervelocity shock tunnel are then reanalyzed with the improved technique: the uncertainty in the mean drag acceleration is shown to be reduced to the order of the flow unsteadiness, 2–3%, and time-resolved acceleration measurements are also shown to be possible. The response time of the technique for the configurations studied is estimated to be ∼0.5 ms. Comparisons with computations using the DLR TAU code also yield agreement to within the overall experimental uncertainty. Measurement of the pitching moment for blunt geometries still appears challenging, however.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Aerodynamics and Flow Technology, Spacecraft Section, German Aerospace Center (DLR)GöttingenGermany

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