Design and optimization of resistance wire electric heater for hypersonic wind tunnel
- Conference date: 3–4 October 2011
- Location: Melaka, Malaysia
The range of flow velocities of high speed wind tunnels varies from Mach 1.0 to hypersonic order. In order to achieve such high speed flows, a high expansion nozzle is employed in the converging-diverging section of wind tunnel nozzle. The air for flow is compressed and stored in pressure vessels at temperatures close to ambient conditions. The stored air is dried and has minimum amount of moisture level. However, when this air is expanded rapidly, its temperature drops significantly and liquefaction conditions can be encountered. Air at near room temperature will liquefy due to expansion cooling at a flow velocity of more than Mach 4.0 in a wind tunnel test section. Such liquefaction may not only be hazardous to the model under test and wind tunnel structure; it may also affect the test results. In order to avoid liquefaction of air, a pre-heater is employed in between the pressure vessel and the converging-diverging section of a wind tunnel. A number of techniques are being used for heating the flow in high speed wind tunnels. Some of these include the electric arc heating, pebble bed electric heating, pebble bed natural gas fired heater, hydrogen burner heater, and the laser heater mechanisms. The most common are the pebble bed storage type heaters, which are inefficient, contaminating and time consuming. A well designed electrically heating system can be efficient, clean and simple in operation, for accelerating the wind tunnel flow up to Mach 10. This paper presents CFD analysis of electric preheater for different configurations to optimize its design. This analysis has been done using ANSYS 12.1 FLUENT package while geometry and meshing was done in GAMBIT.
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