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Visualization Of Freestream Vortices In The NASA Langley 4-Foot Supersonic Unitary Plan Wind Tunnel

Ross A Burns (1), Timothy W Fahringer (2), Paul Michael Danehy (3)

1. Vigyan, Hampton, United States
2. NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, United States
3. NASA Langley Research, Hampton, United States


Streamwise vortices present in the freestream of the NASA Langley 4-Foot Supersonic Unitary Plan Wind Tunnel have been observed experimentally for the first time. A high-energy, burst-mode laser system was used to conduct time-resolved planar laser Mie scattering in the freestream of this facility. The freestream of the facility was observed over Mach numbers ranging from 2.4 to 4.6 and (unit) Reynolds number between 3.3 × 106 to 14.8 × 106 1/m. Apparent vortical structures were observed in the tunnel freestream at Mach numbers ≤ 3 with little difference observed for varying Reynolds number. With further-increasing Mach number, protrusive and oscillatory vertical ‘sprite’ structures were observed emanating from the tunnel floor boundary layer. Neither of these structural phenomena have been observed before experimentally in the facility and act to confirm and inform predictions made in computational fluid dynamic simulations of the facility.

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