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Implementation of the Lifetime Method in Unsteady Pressure-Sensitive Paint Measurements

AIAA 2023-0635
Session: Unsteady Pressure-Sensitive Paint Capabilities at NASA
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At NASA Ames Research Center, unsteady pressure-sensitive paint (uPSP) measurements are obtained using the ‘intensity method’ which measures paint luminescence in response to a continuous, constant excitation. These measurements are obtained using high-speed cameras and are processed into fluctuating components of pressure. However, the nature of the intensity method also requires a separate steady state (time mean) pressure measurement to be obtained. This steady state measurement has typically been obtained using a separate set of PSP equipment that uses the ‘lifetime method’, which uses pulsed excitation to measure paint decay lifetime. If the lifetime method were implemented in the high-speed uPSP system, both the fluctuating and mean components of pressure could be obtained with a single system. This would greatly streamline setup, operations, and processing. In this paper, we describe work performed at the Fluid Mechanics Laboratory at NASA Ames to implement the lifetime method in our uPSP system. The uPSP acquisition system uses Phantom v2512 high-speed cameras, and it was initially uncertain if results of adequate quality could be obtained - their high framerate comes at the cost of several undesirable characteristics, which are explored in this paper. It was also uncertain if illumination using LED lamps, rather than a stronger source such as lasers, would be adequate. The data acquisition and data processing are discussed and the results analyzed. It was found that satisfactory lifetime method results can indeed be obtained using these high-speed cameras and LED lamps. This will allow the uPSP system to be greatly simplified and will have a large operational impact on how uPSP data is acquired in future wind tunnel tests.