Purdue Board of Trustees approves building to house Mach 8 and HYPULSE wind tunnels

On March 3, 2021, the Executive Committee of the Purdue University Board of Trustees, acting on behalf of the full board, approved University planning, financing, construction, and awarding of construction contracts for a new facility to house two hypersonic wind tunnels.
The Hypersonic Pulse (HYPULSE) shock tunnel donated by Northrop Grumman Corporation will be one of two wind tunnels in the newly approved Hypersonics and Applied Research Facility. (Northrop Grumman photo)

The Hypersonics and Applied Research Facility will be a 65,000-square-foot facility, capable of housing a Mach 8 wind tunnel and a Hypersonic Pulse (HYPULSE) shock tunnel. Construction is scheduled to begin in September. The project is estimated to cost $41 million.

The building will create the space for the previously announced world's first Mach 8 quiet wind tunnel, for which Purdue received a $5.9 million contract from the Air Force Research Laboratory, and hypersonic pulse wind tunnel donated by Northrop Grumman Corporation.

Purdue currently is home to one of only two working Mach 6 quiet tunnels in the country. The new Mach 8 quiet wind tunnel will be the first facility of its kind capable of collecting data at speeds greater than Mach 6. Collecting data at higher Mach numbers is critical to extending the understanding of flow physics, especially heat transfer and flight control effectiveness, as Department of Defense programs continue working to fly faster and farther. Purdue School of Aeronautics and Astronautics' Professor Steven Schneider and Research Assistant Professor Brandon Chynoweth are co-lead investigators on the project. Chynoweth will be responsible for running and sustaining the Mach 8 wind tunnel.

The donated 150-foot-long HYPULSE tunnel will be disassembled and moved from Ronkonkoma, New York, to West Lafayette, Indiana. Once installed, Purdue will be only the second university in the United States to offer such a hypersonics test capability. School of Aeronautics and Astronautics faculty are tasked with planning aerodynamics and propulsion testing programs that will use the extreme test conditions that HYPULSE can create. Joseph Jewell, an assistant professor, will focus on aerodynamics testing programs, and Carson Slabaugh, also an assistant professor, will work with propulsion projects.

Source: Purdue News Service

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