NASA: Pressure-sensitive Paint to Test Rockets!

If NASA has simulators and wind tunnels trendy to test its launchers, the US agency is always looking for new ways to test its rockets.


The US space agency has just announced that it has launched a new test protocol for its launchers. In order to check the aerodynamics of its modules designed to launch towards space, NASA now has a new tool, which comes in the margins of wind tunnel tests.

If the wind tunnel makes it possible to visualize the aircraft penetration and to note the airflow disturbances that it generates, the test alone did not make it possible to observe the effects of the pressure exerted on the modules. For this it was necessary to install various sensors, at the risk of having to modify the design and pieces structure and get approximate results.


To overcome this problem, researchers have developed a pressure-sensitive paint. It is now enough for NASA to apply a layer of this paint on the module to be tested and then place it in the wind tunnel. The paint reacts with oxygen to emit light. It is possible to visualize the impact of the accelerations over the entire module surface and to detect the points most subjected to effort.

With this new generation paint, NASA hopes to be able to carry out tests more quickly and at lower costs for its next modules, notably the famous SLS which aims to explore the space and possibly to bring humans to Mars.

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