Date of Award

Spring 1989

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering


Mechanical Engineering

Committee Director

A. Sidney Roberts, Jr.

Committee Member

Sushil K. Chaturvedi

Committee Member

Annageri V. Murthy

Committee Member

Gregory V. Selby

Committee Member

Surendra N. Tiwari


An experimental program was aimed at identifying areas in low speed aerodynamic research where infrared imaging systems can make significant contributions. Implementing a new technique, a long electrically heated wire was placed across a laminar jet. By measuring the temperature distribution along the wire with the IR imaging camera, the flow behavior was identified. Furthermore, using Nusselt number correlations, the velocity distribution could be deduced. The same approach was used to survey wakes behind cylinders in a wind-tunnel. This method is suited to investigate flows with position dependent velocities, e.g., boundary layers, confined flows, jets, wakes and shear layers. It was found that the IR imaging camera cannot accurately track high gradient temperature fields. A correction procedure was devised to account for this limitation. Other wind-tunnel experiments included tracking the development of the laminar boundary layer over a warmed flat plate by measuring the chordwise temperature distribution. This technique was applied also to the flow downstream from a rearward facing step. Finally, the IR imaging system was used to study boundary layer behavior over an airfoil at angles of attack from zero up to separation. The results were confirmed with tufts observable both visually and with the IR imaging camera.