Failure of Lead Bath Heaters in a Hypersonic Wind Tunnel
The working fluid of a hypersonic wind tunnel is freon 14 heated in molten-metal-bath heat exchangers. The coils of the heaters have failed several times from various causes. They have been replaced each time with a stainless steel deemed more appropriate, but they continue to fail. In this case study, the history of failures is traced, the causes are analyzed, and recommendations are made for future design and maintenance. Coils fabricated from AISI 316 should provide satisfactory service life if reasonable precautionary measures are observed during maintenance and testing.