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High Speed Flight Experimental Facilities Development


Image for Event - Joao Martos
  • Date

    22 Apr 2024

  • Organiser

    Department of Aeronautical and Aviation Engineering

  • Time

    11:00 - 12:00

  • Venue

    TU103 Map  


General Office



High-speed transportation has always been desired by society to reduce transport time and increase world integration. Unfortunately, since the retirement of the Concorde aircraft, there has been a lack of civilian aircraft capable of achieving supersonic speed. Supersonic transport for passengers and cargo, with a significant reduction in flight duration, represents a major commercial appeal and has remained an unfulfilled niche in the market. To develop economically and physically viable aircraft, it is necessary to understand the unique features of compressible flow, highlighting it as a field of great interest nowadays. There are several research topics to be investigated to develop commercially viable supersonic/hypersonic aircraft, and some of them are: The reduction of the sonic boom that could increase the supersonic flight routes; The waverider technology to improve the aerodynamics efficiency; Propulsion systems such as ramjet, scramjet, air turbo rockets to provide the necessary thrust with viable fuel consumption; Subsystems for combined cycles propulsion systems; Materials and GNC systems capable of operating in such harsh environment. As can be seen, plenty of technological development is still necessary in this field, and it is impossible to test everything in a single ground test facility. It is then necessary to develop multiple test facilities dedicated to specific subsystems. In this context, experimental facilities capable of providing the desired conditions of high-speed flows in a controlled environment are necessary for testing and verification along all the project stages. There are several types of testing facilities capable of generating supersonic flow; among these, the Ludwieg tube has become the chosen one from several institutions worldwide due to its versatile characteristics for aerodynamics analysis. To facilitate the development of propulsion systems, there is a need for a specialized test facility capable of replicating combustion inlet enthalpy for extended durations compared to the current capabilities of the Ludwieg tube. Therefore, it is proposed that the construction of a combustor-level test facility that can effectively evaluate the necessary high enthalpy conditions. The Middle East, urgently requires the development of such facilities, so the group proposes a preliminary design based on theoretical and CFD simulation of a Ludwieg tube and a combustor-level test facility suitable for R&D. The main goal is to establish this capability in the region, thereby boosting national technology and scientific research in this field. The objective is to conclude this endeavor with a comprehensive preliminary design of a Ludwieg tube and a combustor test facility, enabling the initiation of a detailed project for deploying these facilities in the near future. 



Dr Joao Felipe de Araujo Martos is an aerospace engineer with a career spanning academia, government research, and international collaboration in the field of aerodynamics, with a particular focus on hypersonic applications. Currently, he serves as the Lead Researcher in Aerodynamics at the Technology Innovation Institute (TII) in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. 
Dr Martos's international experience includes a position as an International Research Fellow at the European Space Agency, where he coordinated the HEXAFLY-INT project, focusing on the aerothermal design of rocket fairings. His early career began at the Institute for Advanced Studies - IEAv, where he engaged in high-speed aerodynamics research. He holds a Doctor of Science in Space Science and Technology from the Aeronautics Institute of Technology - ITA, with earlier academic qualifications in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.


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