Theoretical and Experimental Characterization of the Ultrafast Aircraft Thermometer: Reduction of Aerodynamic Disturbances and Signal Processing

Rosa B., Bajer K., Haman K., T. Szoplik T.

Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology

22(7), 2005, 988-1003, 10.1175/JTECH1746.1

The ultrafast aircraft thermometer, built for measuring temperature in clouds at flight speeds up to 100 m s−1, employs a 2.5-μm-thick platinum-coated tungsten wire as a sensing element. When temperature increases, the wire resistance increases. The changes are amplified by an electronic system. Temperature measurements made in a wind tunnel and during flights show noise that is related to the von Kármán vortex street generated behind the shield that protects the sensing element against the impact of cloud droplets. To reduce both the level of turbulence and the amount of water collected on the shield, suction is applied through the slits in its sides. The effect of suction on the flow field is twofold. First, at the Reynolds numbers that the thermometer is operated suction eliminates aerodynamic disturbances. Second, suction diverts the inner part of the boundary layer into the slit. This inner part is a region of strong shear and, therefore, a region where intensive viscous heating takes place. When the suction is on much of the air that is heated in the boundary layer in the front part of the shield is removed through the slits and never reaches the sensor. To study the role of the shield with suction and confirm its chosen shape, two-dimensional (2D) direct numerical simulations (DNSs) are performed of the airflow and of the trajectories of droplets of various sizes and initial positions. The influence on the temperature distribution of the irreversible dissipation of energy due to air viscosity is also examined. This is found to have a small but measurable effect. The effects associated with sampling and processing of the analog signal obtained from the sensing wire are discussed. The results herein quantitatively explain the nature of the measured aerodynamic noise.