Lab Facilities

Our laboratory (E6-336) is located in the state-of-the-art Engineering VI building at UCLA

High-Enthalpy Shock Tube (HEST) Facility

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The HEST facility utilizes the principle of unsteady shock heating and compression to generate precisely-known high-temperature and high-pressure test conditions to further the basic understanding of gas dynamics, radiative heat transfer, and chemistry at high enthalpies. An optically-accessible test section allows for the integration of laser diagnostics to measure time-resolved profiles of species and temperature.

Key Elements:
-10 cm inner diameter, electropolished stainless steel
-Modular design with driver extension to maximize test times (up to 30 ms)
-Custom low-profile double groove-locking weldless flanges
-Hydrostatically pressure tested to 265 atm
-Quick diaphragm loading mechanism
-Optical access ~2 cm from endwall

Detonation Impulse Tube (DIT) Facility

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The detonation tube facility initiates near 1D detonation waves in premixed reactant mixtures at precisely-controlled initial pressures. A Shchelkin spiral assists the transition from deflagration to detonation. Optical access ports along the tube allow for high-speed optical measurements of post-combustion thermodynamics behind detonation waves via laser-based diagnostics.

Key Elements:

-1.5 inch inner diameter stainless steel
-5 piezoelectric sensors to measure detonation wave speeds
-Vacuum surge tank to fully contain and cool detonated mixtures
-Hydrostatically pressure tested to 200 atm

Solid Fuel Combustion Facility

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The solid fuel combustion facility is capable of testing small hybrid and solid rocket fuels up to 10 lbf thrust. The facility is setup in a high-flow fume hood with a maximum exhaust rate of 1150 CFM. Load cells are integrated into the test stand for time-resolved thrust/burn profile measurements. Adjacent optical breadboards allow for integration of laser diagnostics for more detailed thermochemistry measurements. A modular thrust plate design accomodates fuel grains between 1/2-2" diameter and up to 10" in length.

Key Elements:
-High-speed data acquisition
-Remote valve control
-Electrical ignition
-Choked orifice for mass flow rate control
-8 ft. x 2 ft. enclosed work surface for auxilary equipment

Spectroscopy Gas Cells

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Optically-accessible gas cells provide precisely controlled environments for fundamental spectroscopy studies over a wide range of temperature and pressure. These gas cells often represent a starting point in spectroscopic sensor development. Pictured here are two cells, each capable of static or flow operation. A room-temperature cell provides for maximum flexibility in window materials for studies ranging from the ultra-violet to the THz at moderate pressures (less than 5 atm). A second custom high-pressure cell is integrated into a tube furnace for uniform heating of the test gas up to 1400 K and pressurizing up to 200 atm.

Key Elements:

-High-pressure, stainless-steel plumbing throughout system
-Mixing tank for generating custom gas mixtures
-Water-cooled window flanges for high-temperature cell

Low-Pressure Burner

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A pressure-controlled McKenna burner facility for investigating chemical kinetics and spectroscopy at elevated temperatures. The burner additionally exhausts to a heated optical gas cell to enable measurement of spectroscopic parameters of various species in a pressure-controlled combustion exhaust environment. The low-operating pressures of this experimental combustion facility complement the high operating pressures of the shock tube.

Key Elements:

-Steady quasi-1D flames at controlled pressures and extended test times
-3 ft. long heated optical gas cell for studying combustion exhaust gases
-Flame visualization via 6" viewport windows

Mojave Test Facility (Under Construction)

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The Mojave propulsion test facility will provide unique high-energy test and launch infrastructure for research and educational activities. The facility primarily consists of a dedicated control blockhouse and three test pads, along with storage and work areas. Underground data, power, and water transmission infrastructure provide for remote operations. The facility is located near Cantil, CA in the Mojave desert approximately 2 hours north of UCLA main campus.

Key Elements:

-Test articles up to 10,000 lbf thrust can be accommodated
-Wide range of propellants can be tested
-Operated in partnersip with Polaris, Inc.