Magnetoaerodynamics and Aerospace Plasmas Laboratory (MAPLAB) Summary

The Magnetoaerodynamics and Aerospace Plasmas Laboratory (MAPLAB) specializes in studying the physics of aerospace plasmas and related applications, such as hypersonics. This state-of-the-art laboratory, currently under construciton, includes a high-power RF inductively coupled plasma (ICP) facility for high-enthalpy aerothermal characterization of aerospace materials and space environment simulation. This supersoinc plasma wind-tunnel couples a high-power RF plasma torch to a vacuum chamber with high mechanical vacuum pumping capacity, enabling better simulation of the high altitudes, temperatures, and enthalpies present in atmospheric entry plasmas and hypersonic flight environments. Additional laboratory capabilities include a table-top supersonic RF plasma torch and wind-tunnel (~Mach 3 – 5), with a unique optically clear variable nozzle design enabling access for flow visualization. The laboratory joins one of few other high-enthalpy RF plasma facilities in the United States and the world, including access for various plasma, fluid, and thermal diagnostics to facilitate hypersonics experimental investigations with a unique focus on magnetohydrodynamics for hypersonics and aerospace plasmas—magnetoaerodynamics.

Research Overview

MAPLAB Location Among other High Enthalpy Test Facilities

MAPLAB Location Among other High Enthalpy Test Facilities 

*Original Figure from Chazot and Panerai, “High-Enthalpy Facilities and Plasma Wind Tunnels for Aerothermodynamics Ground Testing,” Book Chapter 7, Hypersonic Nonequilibrium Flows: Fundamentals and Recent Advances, Edited by Eswar Josyula, Published January 2015.

Research Capabilities and Focus Areas:

  • Artificially RF ionized supersonic plasma wind-tunnel facility for MHD experiments.
  • Experimental investigation of MHD energy generation for hypersonics and reentry.
  • Experimental investigation of MHD drag augmentation for hypersonics and reentry.
  • Experimental investigation of MHD aerothermal heating mitigation for hypersonics and reentry.
  • Simulation and analysis of MHD system impact for hypersonics and reentry.

How to Join

Please email your interest to the lab director, Dr. Hisham Ali.