The mission of the National Aerothermochemistry and Hypersonics Laboratory (NAL) is to provide a venue for faculty, students, research associates and visiting scientists to improve our knowledge and control of non-equilibrium gaseous flows and their surface interactions. The resulting facility has been supported by the AFOSR, AFRL, ARO, DoD, NASA, NSF, ONR and Industry. A defining feature of the NAL is the suite of national resource quality hypersonic facilities, instrumentation and numerical methods. Most of these assets are one-of-kind, and were developed to address specific problems. A second defining characteristic of the laboratory is the student driven interdisciplinary culture, where researchers from various disciplines (Aerospace Engineering, Chemistry, Physics and Mechanical Engineering) work side-by-side to solve complex problems. For more information on the research that takes place within the NAL, see the faculty links in the Personnel link above.
The term Aerothermochemistry was coined by Theodore von Karman, in the 1950’s, to provide a scientific basis for the study of gases taking into account the effects of motion, heat, and chemical changes, which is applicable to aerodynamic and propulsive flows. Hypersonic flight (Mach number > 5) introduces high enthalpy (temperature) aerothermochemical effects.