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Description of Program

In 1995 microVection employees completed a contract to develop a prototype leading edge for a generic hypersonic vehicle. This leading edge represented the third generation of their leading edge designs, and the first leading edge that was completely internally cooled. The program served as a foundation for fourth generation leading edges subsequently sponsored by USAF/WL and NASA/Langley. The third generation development effort is described below.


  • Hypersonic Vehicle Leading Edges are Exposed to Severe Heating Environments

    • Steady-State Heating Up to 3.5 kW/cm**2
    • Transient (Shock-on-Lip) Heating > 35 kW/cm**2
    • Active Cooling Required; Transpiration/Film Cooling Undesirable

  • Hydrogen-Based Cooling Systems are Limited in Capability

    • Hydrogen Fuel is Only Available Coolant
    • Hydrogen has Poor Heat Transfer Properties


  • Successfully Fabricated Glidcop Leading Edge Prototype

    • Model Was 5 cm in Span, w/0.25 cm Nose Radius and 6 Degree Wedge Half-Angle
    • Model Incorporated 3500 Microchannel Cooling Circuits
    • Each Microchannel was 50 microns x 500 microns in Cross-section

  • Bench Tested Protoype Model

    • Torch Tests Show Excellent Flow and Heat Transfer Performance
    • Test Results Closely Match Predictions

Unique Capabilities

    Capable of Operating at a Steady-State Heat Flux of 11.5 kW/cm**2 Using Gaseous Hydrogen

    • Low Pumping Powers Required
    • High-Strength, Hydrogen-Compatible Construction