Seminar by Dr. Luca Maddalena from the University of Texas at Arlington

Thursday, February 9, 2023 at 3:30pm to 4:30pm

Toomey Hall, 140
400 W. 13th St., Rolla, MO 65409

Dr. Maddalena is the Director of the Aerodynamics Research Center and a Professor of Aerospace Engineering. He is responsible for research operations in its low-speed wind tunnel, transonic Ludwieg tube tunnel (0.4< M <1.25), supersonic blow-down tunnel (1.5< M <4), detonation-driven shock tunnel (6< M <16), and the 1.6 MW arc jet facility, as well as pulsed and continuous detonation wave engine test cells. He has received over $10M in external research funding as PI, including NASA LaRC (Hypervelocity Propulsion, Mach 8+), the Office of Naval Research for his contribution to the Strike Weapon Program and Arc-Jet Development and Flow Characterization, the Joint Hypersonics Transition Office (JHTO) on directed energy radiation for hypersonic applications, the Department of Energy on cold plasma, the Air Force Research Laboratory on the Next Generation Thermal Protection Systems Program, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. 

Prof. Maddalena is a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society and an Associate Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. He served as Chair of the AIAA's Hypersonic Technologies and Aerospace Planes (HyTASP) Technical Committee and presently serves as Deputy Director for Aircraft Technologies within the AIAA's Aircraft Technology, Integration and Operations Group. He is the recipient of the 2023 AIAA Ground Testing Award for ‘pioneering contributions in the development of arc-heated facilities, advanced optical diagnostics and data processing’.

Prof. Luca Maddalena has received his laurea degree in Aerospace Engineering from the Polytechnic University of Milan, Italy, and his Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering from Virginia Tech. Prior to joining the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA) faculty, he was a Postdoctoral Scholar at the Graduate Aeronautical Laboratories of the California Institute of Technology (GALCIT).


Arc-Jet facilities are unique in their ability to provide realistic aerothermal ground test environments simulating hypersonic flight, from Mach 8 to 20, for the long exposure periods required to activate and sustain the complex gas-surface interactions that must be reproduced to validate thermo-structural performance and survivability of materials and components. For more than 60 years, arc heaters have found widespread usage in the development of high-speed vehicles, including hypersonic missiles, re-entry vehicles, high-speed transports, military and commercial space transportation and space access vehicles.

The ability to perform accurate experiments using arc-jet facilities is tightly coupled with the necessity of a careful characterization of the resulting plasma flow. The high uncertainties associated with this class of flows strongly impact the development of new thermal protection systems as well as the progress in the fundamental understanding of associated gas-surface interaction phenomena. The flow characterization in representative thermo-chemical non-equilibrium conditions, and the use of advanced diagnostic tools to study the chemistry and physics of the hypersonic boundary layer is of primary importance.

The talk will discuss key elements associated with arc-jet design and development, and current research activities and recent advancements is plasma flow diagnostics centered on improving our understanding of the relationship between arc-jet test and flight environments.

Event Type

Meetings, Lectures and Conferences


College of Engineering and Computing, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering


Open to Public


Contact Name

Debi Willy

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