A mixed radiative-convective technique for the calibration of heat flux sensors in hypersonic flow

Antonio Esposito, Marcello Lappa, Rocco Pagliara, Gennaro Spada

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
22 Downloads (Pure)


The ability to measure the very high heat fluxes that typically occur during the hypersonic re-entry phase of space vehicles is generally considered a subject of great importance in the aerospace field. Most of the sensors used forthese measurements need to be checked periodically and re-calibrated accordingly. Another bottleneck relates tothe need to procure thermal sources that are able to generate reliable reference heat fluxes in the range between100 and 1000 kW/m 2 (as order of magnitude). In the present study, a method is presented by which, starting froma calibration system with a capacity of approximately 500 kW/m 2 only, heat fluxes in the range of interest forhypersonic applications are generated. The related procedure takes advantage of established standards for thecharacterization of a radiative heat flux. It also builds on the hybrid radiative-convective nature of typicalhypersonic heat fluxes and the yet poorly explored possibility to use convective sources of heat to producehigh-intensity fluxes. The reliability of such a strategy has been tested using a high enthalpy supersonic flowfacility relying on an electric arc-heater and pure Nitrogen as work gas.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)189-203
Number of pages15
JournalFluid Dynamics and Materials Processing
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 18 Dec 2022


  • photometry
  • heat flux sensor
  • calibration
  • radiative source
  • convective source


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