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Plasma Wind Tunnel Complex<img alt="Plasma Wind Tunnel Complex" src="http://webtest.cira.it/PublishingImages/PWT%20esterno%20impianto.jpg" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />https://www.cira.it/en/research-infrastructures/plasma-wind-tunnels/Plasma Wind Tunnel ComplexPlasma Wind Tunnel Complex<p>The Plasma Wind Tunnel Complex has two available hypersonic arc-jet facilities, SCIROCCO and GHIBLI, for the ground simulation of the aerothermodynamic conditions acting onto Thermal Protection Systems and Payloads of space vehicles during the hypersonic reentry phase. </p><h3>SCIROCCO Plasma Wind Tunnel</h3><h3>Description and operational capabilities</h3><p style="text-align:justify;">The SCIROCCO Plasma Wind Tunnel (PWT) is the world's largest and more powerful hypersonic, high enthalpy, low pressure arc-jet facility in operation. It was built in the framework of the ESA program Hermes and is operational since 2002. The design and engineering of the SCIROCCO facility represent the state of art of the arc-jet technology.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">The SCIROCCO facility has been realized to simulate the extreme heat flux and pressure conditions to which are exposed space vehicles re-entering in Earth's atmosphere. The main goal of the facility is to qualify large scale test articles up to 600 mm in diameter, of Thermal Protection Systems (TPS), Hot Structures and Payloads of space re-entry vehicles. The engineering activities that lead from the test requirements up to the test execution and evaluation of results are extremely complicated and multidisciplinary. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">It is powered by an arc heater of 70 MW maximum electrical power and it is able to generate a plasma jet of up to 2 meters of diameter, at Mach 12, for a test duration of up to 30 minutes. The test gas is a mixture of Air and Argon with a maximum mass flow rate of 3.5 kg/s. Inside the arc, the compressed gas is heated up to plasma temperatures in the range of 2,000-10,000 K.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">The plasma flow is accelerated to hypersonic speed through a converging-diverging conical nozzle. There are five different nozzle configurations available with exit diameters ranging from 187 mm (for super-orbital re-entry simulation) to 1950 mm, in order to achieve the desired flow condition.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">A Model Support System injects the test article in the plasma jet inside the Test Chamber, a vertical cylindrical vessel with an overall height of 9 m and an inner diameter of 5 m. The hypersonic jet is convoyed to a long Diffuser where the transition from hypersonic to subsonic flow takes place and then is cooled by a gigantic Heat Exchanger. A Vacuum System generates the required vacuum conditions in the upstream test leg. The system consists of steam ejectors that use as motor fluid up to 100 t/h of high pressure water steam (30 bar and 250°C). Before the process gas is ejected into the atmosphere, it is scrubbed by chemicals in the DeNOx System in order to remove the Nitrogen Oxides produced in the hypersonic-subsonic transition.</p><h3></h3><div><h3>GHIBLI Plasma Wind Tunnel</h3></div><h3>GHIBLI Plasma Wind Tunnel</h3><h3><span aria-hidden="true"></span>Description and operational capabilities<span aria-hidden="true"></span></h3><p>The GHIBLI Plasma Wind Tunnel is an hypersonic, high enthalpy, low pressure arc-jet facility for experiments on test articles of size up to 80 mm in diameter. It allows to perform tests for material sample characterization and selection, investigation of aerothermodynamic phenomena, CFD code validation and advanced measurement techniques development.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">It is powered by an arc heater of 2 MW maximum electrical power. The plasma flow of Nitrogen/Air and Argon is accelerated to an hypersonic speed of about Mach 10 through a converging-diverging conical nozzle with an exit section of 152 mm of diameter.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">A model motion system injects the test article in the plasma jet inside the test chamber, an horizontal cylindrical vessel of 1800 mm inner diameter and 2000 mm length. After the interaction between the flow and the test article surface, the plasma jet is convoyed to the diffuser where the hypersonic-subsonic transition takes place and then is cooled by an heat exchanger. A vacuum system, consisting of root pumps, provides the proper suction during the facility operation before the ejection of the flow into the free atmosphere.</p><h3>Technical features</h3><table class="ms-rteTable-4" cellspacing="0" style="width:100%;height:186px;"><tbody><tr class="ms-rteTableEvenRow-4"><td class="ms-rteTableEvenCol-4" style="width:194px;"><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-2-0">Arc Heater Power</strong></td><td class="ms-rteTableOddCol-4" style="width:194px;"><span class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-2-0" style="font-size:13px;"><span aria-hidden="true"></span><span class="ms-rteThemeFontFace-1 ms-rteThemeForeColor-2-0" style="line-height:107%;font-size:13px;">2 MW<sub><span style="top:3.5pt;">el</span></sub><span> </span>(max)</span><span aria-hidden="true"></span></span></td></tr><tr class="ms-rteTableOddRow-4"><td class="ms-rteTableEvenCol-4"><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-2-0">Gas Mass Flow Rate</strong></td><td class="ms-rteTableOddCol-4"><span class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-2-0">​60 g/s (max)</span></td></tr><tr class="ms-rteTableEvenRow-4"><td class="ms-rteTableEvenCol-4"><span class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-2-0"><strong>Throat </strong><strong>Diameter</strong></span></td><td class="ms-rteTableOddCol-4"><span class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-2-0">9.5 mm</span></td></tr><tr class="ms-rteTableOddRow-4"><td class="ms-rteTableEvenCol-4"><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-2-0">Nozzle Exit Diameter</strong></td><td class="ms-rteTableOddCol-4"><span class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-2-0" style="font-size:13px;">152<span class="ms-rteThemeFontFace-1 ms-rteThemeForeColor-2-0" style="line-height:107%;font-size:13px;"> mm</span></span></td></tr><tr class="ms-rteTableEvenRow-4"><td class="ms-rteTableEvenCol-4" rowspan="1"><span class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-2-0">​​<strong>Mach Number <span aria-hidden="true"></span></strong></span></td><td class="ms-rteTableOddCol-4" rowspan="1"><span class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-2-0">10</span></td></tr><tr class="ms-rteTableFooterRow-4"><td class="ms-rteTableFooterEvenCol-4" rowspan="1">​</td><td class="ms-rteTableFooterOddCol-4" rowspan="1">​</td></tr></tbody></table><p><span aria-hidden="true"></span>  </p><h3>Test Instrumentation and Measurement Techniques</h3><p>SCIROCCO and GHIBLI PWT are provided by an extended set of Test Instrumentation and Measurement Techniques in order to fully characterize the jet free stream conditions and the test article behaviour:</p><ul style="text-align:justify;"><li><p>Thermocouples</p></li><li><p>Pressure sensors</p></li><li><p>Heat flux sensors</p></li><li><p>Video systems</p></li><li><p>IR Thermography</p></li><li><p>IR Pyrometry</p></li><li><p>Optical Emission Spectroscopy (OES)</p></li><li><p>Laser-Induced Fluorescence (LIF)</p></li></ul><h3>Customers</h3><p>Space Agencies: ASI, ESA, DLR, NASA, JAXA, ISRO, etc.<br> Industries: Thales Alenia Space, Safran Herakles, AIRBUS DS, Aero Sekur, etc.</p><h3>Partners</h3><p>Air Force Research Laboratory, University of Queensland, von Karman Institute, etc.</p><p>The Plasma Wind Tunnel Complex has two available hypersonic arc-jet facilities, SCIROCCO and GHIBLI, for the ground simulation of the aerothermodynamic conditions acting onto Thermal Protection Systems and Payloads of space vehicles during the hypersonic reentry phase.</p><h3>SCIROCCO Plasma Wind Tunnel</h3><p style="text-align:justify;">The SCIROCCO Plasma Wind Tunnel (PWT) is the world's largest and more powerful hypersonic, high enthalpy, low pressure arc-jet facility in operation. It was built in the framework of the ESA program Hermes and is operational since 2002. The design and engineering of the SCIROCCO facility represent the state of art of the arc-jet technology.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">The SCIROCCO facility has been realized to simulate the extreme heat flux and pressure conditions to which are exposed space vehicles re-entering in Earth's atmosphere. The main goal of the facility is to qualify large scale test articles up to 600 mm in diameter, of Thermal Protection Systems (TPS), Hot Structures and Payloads of space re-entry vehicles. The engineering activities that lead from the test requirements up to the test execution and evaluation of results are extremely complicated and multidisciplinary.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">It is powered by an arc heater of 70 MW maximum electrical power and it is able to generate a plasma jet of up to 2 meters of diameter, at Mach 12, for a test duration of up to 30 minutes. The test gas is a mixture of Air and Argon with a maximum mass flow rate of 3.5 kg/s. Inside the arc, the compressed gas is heated up to plasma temperatures in the range of 2,000-10,000 K.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">The plasma flow is accelerated to hypersonic speed through a converging-diverging conical nozzle. There are five different nozzle configurations available with exit diameters ranging from 187 mm (for super-orbital re-entry simulation) to 1950 mm, in order to achieve the desired flow condition.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">A Model Support System injects the test article in the plasma jet inside the Test Chamber, a vertical cylindrical vessel with an overall height of 9 m and an inner diameter of 5 m. The hypersonic jet is convoyed to a long Diffuser where the transition from hypersonic to subsonic flow takes place and then is cooled by a gigantic Heat Exchanger. A Vacuum System generates the required vacuum conditions in the upstream test leg. The system consists of steam ejectors that use as motor fluid up to 100 t/h of high pressure water steam (30 bar and 250°C). Before the process gas is ejected into the atmosphere, it is scrubbed by chemicals in the DeNOx System in order to remove the Nitrogen Oxides produced in the hypersonic-subsonic transition.</p><h3>GHIBLI Plasma Wind Tunnel</h3><p>The GHIBLI Plasma Wind Tunnel is an hypersonic, high enthalpy, low pressure arc-jet facility for experiments on test articles of size up to 80 mm in diameter. It allows to perform tests for material sample characterization and selection, investigation of aerothermodynamic phenomena, CFD code validation and advanced measurement techniques development.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">It is powered by an arc heater of 2 MW maximum electrical power. The plasma flow of Nitrogen/Air and Argon is accelerated to an hypersonic speed of about Mach 10 through a converging-diverging conical nozzle with an exit section of 152 mm of diameter.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">A model motion system injects the test article in the plasma jet inside the test chamber, an horizontal cylindrical vessel of 1800 mm inner diameter and 2000 mm length. After the interaction between the flow and the test article surface, the plasma jet is convoyed to the diffuser where the hypersonic-subsonic transition takes place and then is cooled by an heat exchanger. A vacuum system, consisting of root pumps, provides the proper suction during the facility operation before the ejection of the flow into the free atmosphere.</p><p style="text-align:justify;"><br></p><p>​</p><h3>SCIROCCO Plasma Wind Tunnel</h3><table class="ms-rteTable-4" cellspacing="0" style="width:1650px;height:186px;"><tbody><tr class="ms-rteTableEvenRow-4"><td class="ms-rteTableEvenCol-4" style="width:194px;"><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-2-0">Arc Heater Power</strong></td><td class="ms-rteTableOddCol-4" style="width:194px;"><span class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-2-0"><span aria-hidden="true"></span><span class="ms-rteThemeFontFace-1 ms-rteThemeForeColor-2-0" style="line-height:13.91px;">2 MW<sub><span style="top:3.5pt;">el</span></sub> (max)</span><span aria-hidden="true"></span></span></td></tr><tr class="ms-rteTableOddRow-4"><td class="ms-rteTableEvenCol-4"><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-2-0">Gas Mass Flow Rate</strong></td><td class="ms-rteTableOddCol-4"><span class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-2-0">​60 g/s (max)</span></td></tr><tr class="ms-rteTableEvenRow-4"><td class="ms-rteTableEvenCol-4"><span class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-2-0"><strong>Throat </strong><strong>Diameter</strong></span></td><td class="ms-rteTableOddCol-4"><span class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-2-0">9.5 mm</span></td></tr><tr class="ms-rteTableOddRow-4"><td class="ms-rteTableEvenCol-4"><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-2-0">Nozzle Exit Diameter</strong></td><td class="ms-rteTableOddCol-4"><span class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-2-0">152<span class="ms-rteThemeFontFace-1 ms-rteThemeForeColor-2-0" style="line-height:13.91px;"> mm</span></span></td></tr><tr class="ms-rteTableEvenRow-4"><td class="ms-rteTableEvenCol-4" rowspan="1"><span class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-2-0">​​<strong>Mach Number <span aria-hidden="true"></span></strong></span></td><td class="ms-rteTableOddCol-4" rowspan="1"><span class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-2-0">10</span></td></tr><tr class="ms-rteTableFooterRow-4"><td class="ms-rteTableFooterEvenCol-4" rowspan="1">​</td><td class="ms-rteTableFooterOddCol-4" rowspan="1">​</td></tr></tbody></table><p><span aria-hidden="true"></span>  </p><h3>GHIBLI Plasma Wind Tunnel</h3><table class="ms-rteTable-4" cellspacing="0" style="width:1650px;height:186px;"><tbody><tr class="ms-rteTableEvenRow-4"><td class="ms-rteTableEvenCol-4" style="width:194px;"><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-2-0">Arc Heater Power</strong></td><td class="ms-rteTableOddCol-4" style="width:194px;"><span class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-2-0"><span aria-hidden="true"></span><span class="ms-rteThemeFontFace-1 ms-rteThemeForeColor-2-0" style="line-height:13.91px;">2 MW<sub><span style="top:3.5pt;">el</span></sub> (max)</span><span aria-hidden="true"></span></span></td></tr><tr class="ms-rteTableOddRow-4"><td class="ms-rteTableEvenCol-4"><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-2-0">Gas Mass Flow Rate</strong></td><td class="ms-rteTableOddCol-4"><span class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-2-0">​60 g/s (max)</span></td></tr><tr class="ms-rteTableEvenRow-4"><td class="ms-rteTableEvenCol-4"><span class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-2-0"><strong>Throat </strong><strong>Diameter</strong></span></td><td class="ms-rteTableOddCol-4"><span class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-2-0">9.5 mm</span></td></tr><tr class="ms-rteTableOddRow-4"><td class="ms-rteTableEvenCol-4"><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-2-0">Nozzle Exit Diameter</strong></td><td class="ms-rteTableOddCol-4"><span class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-2-0">152<span class="ms-rteThemeFontFace-1 ms-rteThemeForeColor-2-0" style="line-height:13.91px;"> mm</span></span></td></tr><tr class="ms-rteTableEvenRow-4"><td class="ms-rteTableEvenCol-4" rowspan="1"><span class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-2-0">​​<strong>Mach Number <span aria-hidden="true"></span></strong></span></td><td class="ms-rteTableOddCol-4" rowspan="1"><span class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-2-0">10</span></td></tr><tr class="ms-rteTableFooterRow-4"><td class="ms-rteTableFooterEvenCol-4" rowspan="1">​</td><td class="ms-rteTableFooterOddCol-4" rowspan="1">​</td></tr></tbody></table><p><span aria-hidden="true"></span>  </p><p><br></p><p>SCIROCCO and GHIBLI PWT are provided by an extended set of Test Instrumentation and Measurement Techniques in order to fully characterize the jet free stream conditions and the test article behaviour:</p><ul style="text-align:justify;"><li><p>Thermocouples</p></li><li><p>Pressure sensors</p></li><li><p>Heat flux sensors</p></li><li><p>Video systems</p></li><li><p>IR Thermography</p></li><li><p>IR Pyrometry</p></li><li><p>Optical Emission Spectroscopy (OES)</p></li><li><p>Laser-Induced Fluorescence (LIF)</p></li></ul><p>​Air Force Research Laboratory, University of Queensland, von Karman Institute, etc.</p><p>​Space Agencies: ASI, ESA, DLR, NASA, JAXA, ISRO, etc.<br>Industries: Thales Alenia Space, Safran Herakles, AIRBUS DS, Aero Sekur, etc.</p>

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