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The Laser Enhanced Arc-Jet Facility (LEAF) uses up to four 50-kW continuous wave (CW) infrared lasers (1070nm) to simulate radiative heating on Thermal Protection System (TPS) materials. LEAF is a test capability of the Interaction Heating Facility (IHF) at the NASA Ames Research Center Arc Jet Complex.

Radiation heating

LEAF has several standard configurations that can change depending on customer needs and heating requirements. These configurations include a uniform 6”x6” square beam that can provide roughly 400 W/cm2 of radiative heating, a uniform 17”x17” square beam that can reach roughly 80 W/cm 2, or a smaller circular beam with a super-Gaussian intensity profile that can reach a peak irradiance of over 10 kW/cm2 per beam. The LEAF configuration can be changed to create a wide variety of laser sizes and powers depending on the requirements of a specific test.

These lasers simulate radiant heating which is experienced during high velocity atmospheric entries. The LEAF system can also be used in conjunction with the IHF arc heater to simultaneously deliver both convective and radiative heating to a TPS test material.