Hypersonic wind-tunnel free-flying experiments with onboard instrumentation
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AbstractHypersonic wind-tunnel testing with "free-flight" models unconnected to a sting ensures that sting/wake flow interactions do not compromise aerodynamic coefficient measurements. The development of miniaturized electronics has allowed the demonstration of a variant of a new method for the acquisition of hypersonic model motion data using onboard accelerometers, gyroscopes, and a microcontroller. This method is demonstrated in a Mach 6 wind-tunnel flow, whose duration and pitot pressure are sufficient for the model to move a body length or more and turn through a significant angle. The results are compared with those obtained from video analysis of the model motion, the existing method favored for obtaining aerodynamic coefficients in similar hypersonic wind-tunnel facilities. The results from the two methods are in good agreement. The new method shows considerable promise for reliable measurement of aerodynamic coefficients, particularly because the data obtained are in more directly applicable forms of accelerations and rates of turn, rather than the model position and attitude obtained from the earlier visualization method. The ideal may be to have both methods operating together.