HYP500 - STARCS Hypersonic Wind Tunnel.

The HYP500 facility at STARCS is an intermittent blow down hypersonic wind tunnel. The tunnel operates by allowing air from a high pressure storage to expand through a fixed convergent-divergent nozzle into the test section and then out to the atmosphere passing through a diffuser with an ejector and at the exit a silencer. The test section is an open jet in an evacuated test chamber. At the start of the tunnel the model is positioned outside the open jet until stable flow has been established. With stable flow in the jet the model can be injected into the flow after which normally a pitch traverse is performed. The model can also be traversed in the streamwise direction. Before a run is done heat is stored in a passive pebble bed heater by circulating air through a 2.8 MW electric heater and the pebble bed. When the temperature in the pebble bed reaches a predefined value the tunnel is ready to do a run. Heat from the pebble bed heater and the electric heater is added to the air during the run to avoid condensation of the dried air. HYP500 has two axisymmetric contoured nozzles with exit diameter of 0.5 m for M = 4 and M = 7.15. At Mach number 7.15 the maximum stagnation temperature is 720 K. The angle of attack mechanism allows model rotation within the interval -15° to 35° at fixed angle of sideslip.
Testing performed in HYP500
  • Missiles
  • Space planes/shuttles
  • RAM and SCRAM inlets
  • Rocket nozzles
  • Re-entry capsules/heat shields, e.g. the heat shield for the Huygens probe that landed on Saturn’s moon Titan on 14 January 2005.
  • Rocket nose cones
  • Fundamental research on shock phenomena, boundary layers and boundary layer transition

Technical Specifications

The tunnel is equipped with a Z-type Schlieren optical system. In-house designed and manufactured balances are available for customer models. The maximum length of the model is 0.5 m. Models with a diameter of up to 190 mm have been successfully tested without breakdown of the jet.  In recent years the tunnel has been modified in order to also be used as a rocket nozzle test rig. Testing of Ariane 5’s Vulcain type of nozzles has been made studying in particular nozzle separation at overexpanded conditions and the resulting side loads. Also the sensitivity of separation in rocket nozzles to external pressure disturbances has been investigated.
Tunnel Data
  • Test section (open jet) 500 mm nozzle diameter
  • Mach numbers M = 4 and 7.15 
  • Max stagnation temperature is 720 K at M = 7.15
  • Max stagnation pressure is 10 MPa at M = 7.15

Main Features

HYP500 is STARCS hypersonic wind tunnel, capable of wind speed between Mach 4 and 7.15. HYP500 has a well established role in the European space research community, having supplied many vital answers to the development of many ground breaking advancements in space science.

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