Experimental computational investigation of drag reduction by electric-arc airspikes at mach 10

C. S. Hartley, T. W. Portwood, M. V. Filippelli, L. N. Myrabo, H. T. Nagamatsu, M. N. Shneider

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Aerodynamic drag reduction effects of an on-axis electric-arc airspike have been investigated in Mach 10 flow using RPF's 24-inch Hypersonic Shock Tunnel (HST). The research objective was to characterize airspike phenomena as a function of input arc power (0 to 50-kW) for a 6-inch diameter blunt-body with a fixed arc-to-body separation of 6.38 inches. An array of lead-acid batteries supplied power for the self-sustaining discharge. The joint experimental/ numerical investigation began with the acquisition of a substantial experimental database - against which CFD simulations could be calibrated. The results correlated very well. The HST tests were conducted under low enthalpy, 'ideal gas' conditions with a stagnation pressure of 260-psia and total temperature of 560-K. A fast response PCS accelerometer measured drag forces on the blunt-body model during 1-5 ms of 'unrestrained' motion; the model was loosely suspended by four wires. Luminosity photographs of each test were recorded on 35-mm film and Digital Video (DV) to document the airspike's hypersonic flow structure. The CFD investigation modeled the airspike-equipped blunt body under identical flow conditions, assuming an arc-to-body gap of one vehicle diameter. Results from both experimental data and CFD predictions indicate a 70% reduction in drag force compared with the blunt body, power-off case. The long-range purpose of this study is to examine the feasibility of airspike-augmented flight for future transatmospheric vehicles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Number of pages11
StatePublished - 2004
Event42nd AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting and Exhibit - Reno, NV, United States
Duration: Jan 5 2004Jan 8 2004


Other42nd AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting and Exhibit
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityReno, NV

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Experimental computational investigation of drag reduction by electric-arc airspikes at mach 10'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this