PSP/TSP (Pressure/Temperature-Sensitive Paint)

The PSP/TSP research facility, based at the DLR Institute of Aerodynamics and Flow Technology in Göttingen, is a mobile system for the extensive measurement of complex pressure and temperature phenomena on surfaces, and serves to further the development of non-contact measurement technologies in aerodynamics.

Mobile measurement technologies for wind tunnels – unique in Germany

The German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) PSP/TSP test facility offers an optical measurement technique for determining the distribution of pressures and temperatures on a surface without the use of disruptive probes. Temperature-sensitive paint (TSP) can be used to determine surface temperatures and heat transfer for test specimens. Spatially-resolved measurement values for complete model surfaces can be visualised. The system is mobile and can be used in various wind tunnels.

The ToPas software developed at DLR allows automated, script-controlled evaluation and mapping of data onto surface grids. The facility consists of many alternative components. Differing requirements also mean that certain subcomponents have to be made available, such as different types of cameras, light sources and pressure- or temperature-sensitive paints. By selecting the different components, the system can be optimally configured to satisfy the measurement requirements.

Stationary measurements are possible in hypersonic, transonic and low-speed conditions alike. Measurements can also be performed on rapidly rotating propellers or rotors. Transient measurements at frequencies of up to 10 kilohertz are also possible in transonic flows.

In Europe, only ARA in the UK and ONERA in France provide similar capabilities. The facility is unique within Germany and enables the use of measurement technology in industrial wind tunnels in Germany (ETW, DNW, BLSWT), as well as project initiation, especially as part of the Aviation Research Programme (Luftfahrtforschungsprogramm, LuFo) of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Technology (Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Energie; BMWi) or the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft; DFG).

The primary purpose of the large-scale facility is to further develop TSP/PSP measurement technologies and to make them available for research projects. The hardware and software are suitable for industrial use and thus the acquisition of new projects. The resulting gain in scientific knowledge is also very important for internal DLR projects.

The fulfilment of many third-party-funded contracts is only possible with this large-scale facility. The large-scale PSP/TSP facility allows commitments to be met in terms of LuFo and DFG projects and to maintain or expand national partnerships (university education, Bachelor's, Master's and doctoral programmes) and international cooperative efforts (for example, with INSEAN, ONERA and NASA). In addition, this large-scale facility gives DLR unique national capacities and capabilities compared with its counterparts elsewhere in Europe.


Volker Speelmann

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

Dr. rer. nat. Ulrich Henne

German Aerospace Center (DLR)
Institute of Aerodynamics and Flow Technology
Experimental methods
Bunsenstraße 10, 37073 Göttingen