Arc-heated wind tunnel (L2K)

The arc-heated wind tunnel (L2K) at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) DLR Institute of Aerodynamics and Flow Technology in Cologne is used to generate the extreme flow conditions that prevail directly around a spacecraft as it enters an atmosphere.

The atmosphere of Mars or Saturn's moon Titan

DLR's arc-heated wind tunnel (L2K) can simulate the atmospheres of various celestial bodies such as Earth, Mars and Saturn’s moon Titan. For the case of entering the Martian atmosphere, the influence of small dust particles on the mechanical and thermal properties of high-temperature materials can also be investigated.

High-temperature materials used as thermal shields for spacecraft and missiles can be characterised and qualified under realistic conditions in a variety of atmosphere conditions using the arc-heated wind tunnel. Moreover, L2K delivers valuable reference data to validate numerical simulation methods for high-enthalpy flows.

L2K tests are used for the direct qualification of high-temperature materials and sensors for flight. Additionally, spectroscopic measurements in the flow field support the development of modern diagnostic techniques.


Volker Speelmann

Head of Research Infrastructures
German Aerospace Center (DLR)
Executive Board department for Innovation, Transfer and Research Infrastructure
Linder Höhe, 51147 Cologne

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Ali Gülhan

German Aerospace Center (DLR)
Institute of Aerodynamics and Flow Technology
Supersonic and Hypersonic Technology
Linder Höhe, 51147 Cologne