WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind., May 31, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) – Hypersonic technology has destroyed the world. It has created unprecedented opportunities and challenges in space, aviation, national security and other areas. These challenges and opportunities are being addressed as research conducted at Purdue University, through one of its Next Moves strategic initiatives, integrates these technologies into our daily lives.
Hypersonic flight into the atmosphere occurs when the speed exceeds Mach 5 or five times the speed of sound. That’s 1715 meters per second. At this speed, a person can complete a marathon in less than 25 seconds or run around the Earth’s equator in about six and a half hours.
Hypersonic speed is not a 21st century phenomenon. Yuri Gagarin was the first person to achieve hypersonic flight in April 1961. Alan Shepard became the second person and the first American to achieve it in May 1961. Gagarin reached the cornerstone during the first manned orbital flight; Shepard did this during a suborbital flight. All intercontinental ballistic missiles reach hypersonic speed at their maximum speed. However, speed is not the only key attribute of technology; The value of hypersonic technology lies in the ability to maneuver ships or missiles at different altitudes at which they fly.
Purdue University, one of the largest research institutions in the world, has a well-established reputation in the field of hypersonic research. What makes Purdue exceptional in this area?
Purdue’s special hypersonic research facilities
The university has many specialized resources in this field, including world-class facilities.
• Hypersonic ground test center
HGTC is the first hypersonic testing facility of its kind in the United States; is planned to be built in the Discovery Park District in Purdue, next to the campus of Purdue University. This was announced on August 9 during a two-day summit on hypersonic issues organized by Purdue and the National Defense Industry Association. This will be a central shared program that supports multiple test cells and laboratories.
“At Purdue, we are committed to researching the very frontiers of science, especially when it can contribute to the national security of Americans,” Purdue President Mitch Daniels said in a statement in August. “Becoming home to the nation’s leading hypersonic facilities can make such a contribution, while providing tremendous new opportunities for our researchers, ambitious entrepreneurs and job seekers.
The HGTC will be administered by a non-profit consortium of partners in the national defense industry that will manage capital and operating costs. Rolls-Royce North America is the first member of the aerospace industry in the HGTC consortium. Other national industry partners and potential interested government organizations are being recruited.
The HGTC facility will have two separate test streams; partners can conduct tests in the range of 3.5-5.0 Mach or 4.5-7.5 Mach. Several companies can work on site at the same time, while ensuring full protection of intellectual property and sensitive work. These facilities will be available for long-term lease to allow guaranteed, timely access for contractors to conduct tests on their preferred schedule and duration.
Purdue University and the Purdue Research Foundation will fund the construction of the HGTC. Brian Edelman, President and CEO of PRF, said: “The construction of the hypersonic ground test center would not have been possible without the recent investment of millions of dollars to further expand facilities in the Discovery Park area of Purdue. This investment from Rolls-Royce, the University and the PRF, together with support from the state, West Lafayette, Lafayette and Tippecanoe County, laid the foundation for the creation of the HGTC. “
• Silent tunnel on Boeing / AFOSR Mach 6
This wind tunnel is the only one in the world that works quietly while operating at hypersonic speeds. Funded by the Air Force Research Service, the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization and Boeing Co., this one-of-a-kind 6-speed quiet wind tunnel was built in 2001. Additional funding came from the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization and Sandia National Laboratories and through a gift in memory of Kenneth Hobby.
• Hypersonic pulse shock tunnel
This tunnel was donated by Northrop Grumman Corp. Once installed, Purdue will be only the second university in the United States to offer such a testing opportunity. The tunnel will allow flight simulations at speeds of Mach 5 to 40. It will be available to researchers from academia, industry and government for testing.
• Quiet wind tunnel 8 Mach
Purdue is developing the world’s first 8-speed quiet wind tunnel with significant support from the Air Force Research Laboratory. This will be the first facility of its kind capable of collecting data at speeds greater than Mach 6.
• Maurice J. Zukrou Laboratories
Founded by Maurice J. Zucrow In 1948, Zucrow Labs is the world’s largest academic propulsion laboratory. Its research facilities occupy 24 acres next to Purdue University Airport. His research interests include aerodynamics of turbomachines, aeroacoustics, combustion, measurement and control, computational mechanics of fluids, heat transfer of particle flow and atomization processes.
Purdue partners from industry, government and academia
Together with industry and government partners working together on the HGTC and other on-campus wind tunnels, Purdue has established other strong working partnerships with national leaders in academia, government and industry.
These partners include the Air Force Research Laboratory, Army Research Laboratory, Dynetics, General Atomics, GE Additive, Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, Lockheed Martin, NASA, Naval Sea Systems Command, Northrop Grumman, NSWC Crane Division, Sandia National Laboratories and University Center for applied hypersound.
The most important factor in Purdue’s superiority in hypersonic is the women and men who conduct research and refine innovations that will impact hypersonic flight in the 2020s and beyond.
In the autumn issue of the magazine “Aerogram” for 2020, the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics in Purdue presented teachers who conduct hypersonic research. Jonathan Poggi was appointed to the university in 2015 and was appointed head of hypersonic at the University’s Institute for Global Security and Innovation.
Poggie’s responsibilities include assembling a multidisciplinary team of Purdue researchers with an interest in hypersound. The team now includes nearly 40 researchers. The group’s expertise includes navigation, aerodynamics, aerothermal effects, propulsion, autonomy, systems engineering, high temperature materials and manufacturing. The goal is to help the government and industry lay the groundwork for the development of the next generation of high-speed vehicles capable of flying at Mach 6 – more than 4,000 mph – and more.
The story, titled “The Dream Team,” outlines key milestones in Purdue’s hypersonic timeline to date, including federal contracts and academic partnerships. It also summarizes some researchers and their research areas for specific projects.
This study led to the discovery of many innovations, some of which were uncovered by the Purdue Research Foundation’s Technology Commercialization Office, which helps protect, market and license and commercialize the university’s intellectual property.
Purdue: A prominent leader in hypersound
Bringing together hypersonic experts in their faculty; developing relationships with industry, government and academia; and the creation and maintenance of special facilities and resources such as the Center for Hypersonic Ground Testing have made Purdue University and the Purdue Research Foundation leaders in the field. As hypersonic technologies affect national security, industry and commerce, Purdue will lead efforts to integrate them quickly and intelligently into our lives.