The availability of experimental facilities capable of providing continuous flow conditions representative of hypersonic flight is of paramount importance to properly sustain the development of hypersonic technologies. Recent progress made in composite materials and additive manufacturing represents an excellent opportunity to effectively attack the "heat-barrier" problem, affecting hypersonics since its inception. However, the exponential growth of candidate materials for thermal protection systems has found a bottleneck in the scarce availability of aerothermal testing facilities, capable of operating in a cost and time effective manner, to be used at the early stages of the development. Universities have recently started to play a more active role in this scenario by building reduced-scale high-enthalpy facilities with the dual purpose of fundamental research and material screening. In addition, performing aerothermal screening tests at Academic level represents a formidable training opportunity for the next generation of scientists and engineers working in this field. To this purpose, the University of Tennessee has initiated the construction of a set of high-enthalpy experimental facilities to cover a wide range and scales of applications. This presentation will focus on the 60-kW Hypersonic Material Testing (HyperMaTe) facility and the 500-kW Mach 6 arcjet tunnel installed in Dr. Baccarella’s laboratory. An overview of the design, construction, characterization, capabilities and future plans for upgrade will be provided.
About the speaker: Damiano Baccarella is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Mechanical, Aerospace and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Tennessee Knoxville. Dr. Baccarella’s research focuses on experimental hypersonic aerothermodynamics, high-speed air breathing propulsion, laser diagnostics, and high-temperature materials aerothermal testing and characterization. He has been involved in the design and characterization of reduced-scale hypersonic arcjet tunnels for more than 10 years, supervising the construction of the ACT-1 facility at the University of Notre Dame, ACT-2 at the University of Illinois, and the 500-kW arcjet tunnel at the University of Tennessee. Dr. Baccarella is the recipient of the 2020 AFOSR YIP Award for the investigation of thermochemical equilibrium effects in arcjet flows. Prior joining UTK, Dr. Baccarella received a MSc in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Pisa, Italy and a PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where he investigated flame stabilization in a direct-connect supersonic combustion facility. Dr. Baccarella is an AIAA Senior Member and part of the AIAA Ground Testing Committee. He is also the faculty advisor for the AIAA student chapter at UTK.