In aerodynamics, hypersonic speed greatly exceeds the speed of sound. On the ground, sound waves travel at around 340 metres per second. Any faster than this is supersonic, and five or more times faster is hypersonic. Unlike supersonic flow, with a hypersonic flow there is no sound barrier that is broken. As a vehicle moves faster and faster, the heat transfer of the flow starts to become important as the kinetic energy of the object converts to heat in the surrounding gases.
In the natural world, objects such as meteors and asteroids move through the Earth’s atmosphere hypersonically. Space shuttles and other space vehicles that we send to other planets, like the Mars Pathfinder-type probes, are man-made hypersonic vehicles. There have also been attempts to build aircraft that fly at hypersonic speeds here on Earth.
Developing, validating and testing structural designs, components and materials to operate in the extremes of hypersonic flight.
Testing and analysing the performance of control methods and algorithms in flow conditions that are representative of hypersonic flight.
Reducing the risk of high-speed flight testing and development through the application of scaled, dynamic free-flight testing in wind tunnels.
High-speed Mach number and angle of attack sensor for hypersonic vehicles.
World leading laser flow diagnostics.