Experimental investigation of an electric arc air-spike in mach 10 flow with preliminary drag measurements

R. M. Bracken, L. N. Myrabo, H. T. Nagamatsu, E. D. Meloney, M. N. Shneider

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

17 Scopus citations


The effects of an arc discharge to create an Air-Spike in a hypersonic flow are currently being studied in the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute 24-inch Hypersonic Shock Tunnel (RPI HST), modeled computationally, and compared to existing theory. The arc is a high current car battery array-driven, 75-kilowatt peak, self-sustaining electrical discharge in a Mach 10, 260 psia stagnation pressure, and 560 K stagnation temperature flow. In this low enthalpy, "ideal gas," condition, schlieren photographs are taken of the apparatus with and without a downstream blunt body, with varying arc powers. Blunt body drag measurements are also made with a fast-response accelerometer, both with and without the arc to establish a correlation between arc power and body drag. The computational effort employs the Euler gasdynamic equations to represent a heat source in flow conditions and geometries identical to those tested in the RPI HST. These two results are then compared to early Air-Spike theoretical predictions to qualitatively validate the CFD code and gain a better perspective on the loss mechanisms involved in the experiment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
StatePublished - 2001
Event32nd AIAA Plasmadynamics and Lasers Conference 2001 - Anaheim, CA, United States
Duration: Jun 11 2001Jun 14 2001


Other32nd AIAA Plasmadynamics and Lasers Conference 2001
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityAnaheim, CA

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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