Arc-heated wind tunnel (L3K)

The arc-heated wind tunnel (L3K) 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.

Wind tunnel for testing thermal shields on spacecraft

The L3K is a key facility in Europe for the testing of high-temperature structures due to its operational efficiency and the specific conditions it can create. High-temperature materials used as thermal shields for spacecraft and missiles can be characterised and qualified under realistic conditions using this arc-heated wind tunnel.

Moreover, L3K delivers valuable reference data to validate numerical simulation methods for high-enthalpy flows. L3K tests are used for the direct qualification of high-temperature materials and sensors for flight.


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