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Impact and Advanced Implementation of Cryogenics in Aerodynamic Testing

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Applied Vehicle Technology

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Cryogenics, Ground Test, Loads, Performance, Reynolds Number, Stability


Cryogenic, high-Reynolds number testing has been in use for approximately 40 years. This testing capability is used to more closely predict full scale flight aerodynamics for improved accuracy in estimates of aircraft performance, stability and loads. Previous NATO efforts have included AGARD-LS-111 Cryogenic Wind Tunnels in May 1980, AGARD-R-722 Special Course on Cryogenic Technology for Wind Tunnel Testing in April 1985, AGARD-R-812 Special Course on Advances in Cryogenic Wind Tunnel Technology in May 1996. Other related NATO works include AGARD-AG-303 Reynolds Number Effects in Transonic Flow December 1988, AGARD-AG-323 Scale Effects on Aircraft and Weapon Aerodynamics, July 1994 and most recently STO-AVT-298 Reynolds Number Scaling Effects on Swept Wing Flows.


The objective of this technical course is to provide a comprehensive overview of the value of cryogenic, high-Reynolds number testing and its impact, the availability and accessibility of cryogenic testing and considerations in test planning and execution, and depth technical topics to enhance the skill of both users and operators of this capability.


• Value proposition for cryogenic, high-Reynolds number testing • Role of cryogenic aerodynamic testing in current and future aerodynamic technologies • Test Planning Basics and Considerations (Materials, Model systems & Instrumentation) • Available facilities and emerging capabilities • Real gas effects • Materials, model design, model automation • Flow calibration and characterization • Controls: temperature and Mach stability and uniformity • Wind tunnel aerodynamics unique to cryogenic testing • Propulsion simulation and active flow control • Surface and off-body optical techniques for measuring flow parameters and aeroelastics • Compensation for instruments in the cryogenic environment

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