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National Security Programs

Hypersonic Flight

Hypersonic flight, the ability to fly at more than five times the speed of sound, is a top priority for the U.S. Military. Argonne brings unique capabilities to advance this field.

Hypersonic flight, the ability to fly at more than five times the speed of sound, is a top priority for the U.S. Military. With world-class user facilities and leading expertise in X-ray science, advanced materials and high-performance computing, Argonne brings unique capabilities to advance this field. 

Focusing on National Security 

Hypersonic flight requires the defense and aerospace industries to develop advanced and more powerful engines. Potential breakthroughs lie in the careful assessment of multiphase and combusting flows. Observations for understanding the fluid dynamics of traveling at hypersonic speed cannot be made solely through conventional optical methods. Researchers at Argonne have developed a suite of X-ray diagnostics that characterize these flows using the Advanced Photon Source (APS), one of the world’s brightest X-ray sources. 

These advances in understanding multiphase and combusting flows will provide additional insights into questions important to the future of commercial and defense aerospace. 

Collaborating for Results

Argonne’s expertise and advanced-scientific research in X-ray measurements of flow fields, as well as access to the APS, make the laboratory a unique asset. By joining together with other laboratory facilities, data derived from this testing is fed back into advanced computer models. This, in turn, strengthens existing computer modeling and benefits the development of new combustion devices for aircraft and vehicles. 

Achieving Results

Utilizing Argonne’s Advanced Photon Source, researchers studied impinging jet atomizers which are frequently used in liquid rocket fuel injection. With X-ray technology and high-speed imaging, scientist definitively showed liquid streams crossing through each other for the first time. This important discovery, made possible by the resources from Argonne, is leading toward better designs for liquid rocket injection schemes which is important for both commercial and military spacecraft. 

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