Researchers at Purdue University and the University of Notre Dame are working together to improve technology to make high-speed vehicles capable of speeds of 3,500 mph and beyond. The two schools are part of a $5.8 million program from the Air Force Research Laboratory. 

The multidisciplinary program includes both universities having Mach 6 quiet wind tunnels and combustion facilities where a 16-member faculty team will experiment, model and simulate airflow, propulsion systems and overall design of the aircraft.

Director of the Institute for Global Security and Defense Innovation, Dan DeLaurentis, says multidisciplinary teams are vital to hypersonics research.

“Disciplines including aerodynamics, aerothermal effects and propulsion all can come into play when a vehicle is flying at hypersonic speeds,” DeLaurentis said. “Multidisciplinary research is a point of emphasis for the i-GSDI and the Department of Defense.”

Purdue’s hypersonics program is led by Professor Jonathan Poggie.

“The role of our research is to provide support to military and NASA, providing them the research needed to make more accurate predictions about some of their toughest hypersonic problems,” said Poggie. “We will provide insight into extreme heat loads, aerodynamic forces and unpredictable control characteristics interacting with a vehicle when it flies at such high speeds.”

The program continues Purdue’s involvement in hypersonic research, after the school received funding this year to develop the first-ever Mach 8 quiet flow wind tunnel and obtained a Hypersonic Pulse shot tunnel donated by Northop Grumman.