1991-04-01

In-Flight Off-Surface Flow Visualization Using Infrared Imaging 911006

A flight test investigation was conducted to evaluate an infrared (IR) imaging technique to visualize off-surface flow phenomena. A single-engine, general-aviation airplane was equipped with an IR imaging system that viewed the region around the left wingtip. Vortical flow at the wingtip was seeded with sulfur hexafluoride, a gas with strong infrared absorbing and emitting characteristics. Different terrain and sky backgrounds were evaluated for their effect on IR images of vortical flow. The best IR images were obtained with a clear sky background. The results of the investigation indicate that IR flow visualization compliments existing smoke generator methods for off-surface flow visualization.

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