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Crucial tool developed for study, research in aerospace engineering

Bengaluru: Mar 11, 2016, DHNS: 2:58 IST
The miniature hypersonic shock tunnel developed at the IISc will help students and researchers of aerospace engineering.
Hypersonic shock tunnels are considered indispensable for any research or study in the field of aerospace engineering, but few institutions that offer the course have the facility given its high cost and the space required for installation.

Now, a start-up incubated at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) here has developed a miniature version of the hypersonic shock tunnel that will make it feasible for any institute to have such a facility.

The size of regular shock tunnels varies from 10 metres in length to more than a hundred metres. The ‘Reddy Shock Tube’, as it has been named, consists of two sections: a 400-mm-long driver tube with a manually operated piston and a 600-mm-long driven tube. The two parts are small enough to be put on a tabletop and allow students a hands-on experience with hypersonics, a statement from the IISc said.

Super-Wave Technology Pvt Ltd, which developed the miniature shock tunnel, was co-founded by researchers at the IISc, whose study on the development of the tunnel has been published in the international journal ‘Shock Waves’.

The shock tunnel was named after Prof K P J Reddy from the Department of Aerospace Engineering, IISc, who also founded the laboratory for Hypersonics and Shockwave Research at the IISc.

“It was Prof Reddy’s wish to see improvements in the field of hypersonics research in India. He wished to instal a shock tunnel in all major engineering institutions. Once he realised that we could produce shock waves even in syringe-sized tubes, we worked to fabricate the Reddy Shock Tunnel,” Dr Sudhiesh Kumar, Project Manager at Super-Wave Technology Pvt Ltd, said. “It’s compact and allows basic hypersonics research to be conducted in educational institutions.”

Hypersonics is the study of objects moving at a speed higher than Mach 5, i.e. five times the speed of sound. When an object moves so fast, it encounters a shock wave right in front of it that also moves along with the object. Shock tubes recreate shock waves in the laboratory environment and allow scientists to study them deeply.

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