Upgrade of the X3 super-orbital expansion tube

Dann, A. G., Morgan, R. G., Gildfind, D. E., Jacobs, P. A., McGilvray, M. and Zander, F. (2012). Upgrade of the X3 super-orbital expansion tube. In: P. A. Brandner and B. W. Pearce, Proceedings of the 18th Australasian Fluid Mechanics Conference. 18th Australasian Fluid Mechanics Conference, Launceston, Australia, (). 3-7 December 2012.

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Author Dann, A. G.
Morgan, R. G.
Gildfind, D. E.
Jacobs, P. A.
McGilvray, M.
Zander, F.
Title of paper Upgrade of the X3 super-orbital expansion tube
Conference name 18th Australasian Fluid Mechanics Conference
Conference location Launceston, Australia
Conference dates 3-7 December 2012
Proceedings title Proceedings of the 18th Australasian Fluid Mechanics Conference
Journal name Proceedings of the 18th Australasian Fluid Mechanics Conference, AFMC 2012
Place of Publication Hawthorn, VIC, Australia
Publisher Australasian Fluid Mechanics Society
Publication Year 2012
Sub-type Fully published paper
ISBN 9780646583730
Editor P. A. Brandner
B. W. Pearce
Total pages 4
Language eng
Abstract/Summary Expansion tubes are important facilities for the study of high enthalpy hypersonic flows which avoid the non-equilibrium chemical and thermal effects associated with the flow stagnation intrinsic to reflected shock tunnels. X3 is one of the largest freepiston super-orbital expansion tube in the world with an overall length of approximately 69 m and is capable of generating reentry speed flows equivalent to those experienced during a hyperbolic re-entry trajectory. It was originally built with a twostage free-piston driver to achieve the high compression ratio of a large diameter compression tube without the high construction costs of designing the large diameter tube to be strong enough to resist peak driver pressure loads. However, this arrangement proved difficult in operation. This paper describes the upgrades to X3, in respect to its physical layout. The facility has been recommissioned to incorporate a single-piston driver, a steady expansion nozzle and a new test section. Major changes have been made to the free-piston driver with a re-designed piston and launcher and a new end cap tube which is 200 mm thick to contain driver pressures up to 80 MPa. The re-designed piston introduces an area change at the primary diaphragm, ensuring that the maximum increase in total pressure and temperature can be gained as the driver gas undergoes unsteady expansion from sonic to supersonic conditions. The compression process steadily increases up to Mach 1 at the throat then gains of up to an order of magnitude in total temperature and pressure can be realised as the unsteady expansion process takes over. The area change will also increase test times; with a throat at the primary diaphragm, the piston mechanics can be more readily tuned to minimise reflection of waves off the piston which would otherwise reduce the test time. A new Mach 10 steady expansion nozzle has been developed which has increased the core flow and the test time for appropriate conditions. The dump tank has been replaced with a larger tank and test section giving a larger volume with greater potential for instrumentation.
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Institutional Status UQ

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Created: Wed, 12 Dec 2012, 19:36:36 EST by Mr David Gildfind on behalf of School of Mechanical and Mining Engineering