The Automation of the Transonic Experimental Facility (TEF) and the Aerodynamic Experimental Facility (AEF)

Report No. ARL-TR-7506
Authors: Charith R Ranawake
Date/Pages: October 2015; 30 pages
Abstract: The Aerodynamic and Transonic Experimental Facilities at the US Army Research Laboratory (ARL) maintain free-flight spark ranges to evaluate the aerodynamic and flight dynamic performances of gun-launched projectiles. Currently, firing a projectile and capturing its shadowgraph image on film is a manual process—which is tedious and limiting when conducting multiple tests. This project addressed the automation of the free-flight spark ranges by enhancing ARL's software for remotely controlling the operation of the ranges and integrating digital cameras. Initially, modifications were made to the existing FilmScanner program to make it compatible with Vidar scanners that do not utilize the drivers developed using the TWAIN communications protocol. Then, a prototype system consisting of a range interface box, Weather Station, and digital camera connected via Ethernet to a computer was built to serve as a development platform. The existing RangeController program was enhanced to control the prototype system. The enhancements include adding functionality to remotely take weather measurements from the Weather Station, control the camera settings, operate the camera using an external trigger, and record the camera images after the shot. These enhancements will help significantly reduce human intervention, which will decrease the required range time for testing.
Distribution: Approved for public release
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Last Update / Reviewed: October 1, 2015