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Analytical and Experimental Studies of Microwave Interaction with a Hypersonic Air Plasma


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Analytical and experimental studies are described of phenomena associated with the interaction of microwave radiation with the aerodynamically generated plasma surrounding a hemisphere-cylinder model in the CAL High Energy Shock Tunnel. The program consisted of three parts, namely, (1) measurements of the changes in antenna radiation patterns at C-band (4.25 GHz), (2) an investigation of antenna breakdown, and nonlinear signal transmission effects, at S-band (2.7 GHz), and (3) measurements of the coupling between two antennas at S-band. Nonequilibrium flow field calculations are discussed which describe the plasma properties in the vicinity of the antennas on the model. Analytical calculations have also included the computation of the complex transmission and reflection coefficients for microwave propagation through the inhomogeneous afterbody shock layer plasma. A Phase I series of experiments measured the effect of the hypervelocity plasma on the radiation pattern of a C-band transmitting antenna located on the model cylindrical afterbody. A Phase II experimental program investigated nonlinear interaction effects due to propagation of variable high power S-band pulse radiation through the afterbody shock layer plasma.



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