Defense

August 7, 2013

AEDC’s Range-G in operation for 50 years

David Brown and Troy Perry installed a slug projectile with a pitch motor into the 8-inch bore diameter barrel of AEDC’s Range-G two-stage, light gas gun at a velocity of 8,200 feet per second.

 

Since the summer of 1963, when the Arnold Engineering Development Complex’s Hypervelocity Ballistic Range-G came into operation, the facility has tested items for boundary-layer studies to hypersonic plasma mitigation studies.

The range is used to conduct kinetic energy lethality and impact phenomenology tests. It is the largest two-stage, light-gas gun system in the U.S. that provides “soft launch”, minimized acceleration loading, capability to launch extremely high-fidelity missile simulation at hypervelocity speeds.

Range-G is capable of launching projectiles at velocities up to 23,000 feet per second. Projectiles up to eight inches in diameter are launched into a 10-foot diameter, 930-foot long instrumented tank that can be maintained at pressure altitudes from sea level to 225,000 feet.

The use of 3-D finite-element analysis software, ABAQUS, coupled with the AEDC light-gas gun code provides a seamless projectile design capability.

The unique ability to duplicate real flight, although at subscale, makes it the ideal facility for a variety of testing requirements such as, aerodynamic, aerothermal heating assessments, wake physics and material phenomenology.

 

Final step is the insertion of powder charge into breech launcher. In sequence, powder compresses hydrogen, hydrogen drives piston, piston compresses hydrogen in pump tube which accelerates model to desired velocity. The free-flight models will be fired through the 1,000-foot range at velocities up to and exceeding Mach 20. The test unit, 1,000-ft Hypervelocity Range-G, is part of the von Karman Gas Dynamics Facility at the Arnold Engineering Development Complex.

 

Laser-illuminated photography was developed at the Arnold Engineering Development Complex to study ablative effects on a 12,000 mph free-flight projectile in the Center’s 1,000-foot hypervelocity ballistic range. The technique provided a photographic exposure equivalent to 20 billionths of a second.




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