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Purdue gifted hypersonics shock tunnel

Purdue University was given a Hypersonic Pulse (HYPULSE) shock tunnel from Northrop Grumman Corp. (photo courtesy of Northrop Grumman Corp.)

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) – A Virginia-based aerospace and defense technology company has donated a Hypersonic Pulse, or HYPULSE, shock tunnel to Purdue University. Purdue says the donation from Northrop Grumman Corp. (NYSE: NOC) will accelerate its hypersonics work by allowing flight simulations at speeds ranging from Mach 5 up to Mach 40.

Once installed, Purdue says it will be the second university in the U.S. to offer this hypersonics test capability. The university says efforts are currently underway to disassemble and transfer the 150-foot tunnel from New York to West Lafayette.

Theresa Mayer, executive vice president for research and partnerships, says the donation expands Purdue’s research and data collection in flow physics and creates opportunities for tests and evaluations to academia, industry and the government.

“Purdue is continuing to invest in infrastructure to support hypersonics research and education, and will open the HYPULSE tunnel for collaboration with external organizations,” said Mayer. “This will allow researchers from across academia, industry and the government to access the unique test conditions enabled by HYPULSE for their most demanding aerothermodynamic experiments.”

The university says collecting data at higher Mach numbers is necessary to better understand flow physics, specifically heat transfer and flight control effectiveness.

“At Northrop Grumman we are committed to increasing STEM educational opportunities that engage, excite and educate students,” said John Hayes, director of propulsion systems and controls at Northrop Grumman. “The HYPULSE tunnel will help students from across the country conduct in-depth research into the world of hypersonic applications.”

Purdue says it has one of the most comprehensive hypersonics research capabilities in the country, with nearly 40 researchers with expertise in navigation, aerodynamics and aerothermal effects propulsion, among others. Earlier this year, Purdue was awarded a U.S. Air Force contract to develop the first quiet Mach 8 quiet wind tunnel in the world.