22 August 2016 Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope: computational fluid dynamic analyses and evaluation of the air knife model
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Implementation of an air curtain at the thermal boundary between conditioned and ambient spaces allows for observation over wavelength ranges not practical when using optical glass as a window. The air knife model of the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope (DKIST) project, a 4-meter solar observatory that will be built on Haleakalā, Hawai’i, deploys such an air curtain while also supplying ventilation through the ceiling of the coudé laboratory. The findings of computational fluid dynamics (CFD) analysis and subsequent changes to the air knife model are presented. Major design constraints include adherence to the Interface Control Document (ICD), separation of ambient and conditioned air, unidirectional outflow into the coudé laboratory, integration of a deployable glass window, and maintenance and accessibility requirements. Optimized design of the air knife successfully holds full 12 Pa backpressure under temperature gradients of up to 20°C while maintaining unidirectional outflow. This is a significant improvement upon the .25 Pa pressure differential that the initial configuration, tested by Linden and Phelps, indicated the curtain could hold. CFD post- processing, developed by Vogiatzis, is validated against interferometry results of initial air knife seeing evaluation, performed by Hubbard and Schoening. This is done by developing a CFD simulation of the initial experiment and using Vogiatzis’ method to calculate error introduced along the optical path. Seeing error, for both temperature differentials tested in the initial experiment, match well with seeing results obtained from the CFD analysis and thus validate the post-processing model. Application of this model to the realizable air knife assembly yields seeing errors that are well within the error budget under which the air knife interface falls, even with a temperature differential of 20°C between laboratory and ambient spaces. With ambient temperature set to 0°C and conditioned temperature set to 20°C, representing the worst-case temperature gradient, the spatial rms wavefront error in units of wavelength is 0.178 (88.69 nm at λ = 500 nm).
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Isaac McQuillen, Isaac McQuillen, LeEllen Phelps, LeEllen Phelps, Mark Warner, Mark Warner, Robert Hubbard, Robert Hubbard, "Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope: computational fluid dynamic analyses and evaluation of the air knife model", Proc. SPIE 9911, Modeling, Systems Engineering, and Project Management for Astronomy VI, 99111M (22 August 2016); doi: 10.1117/12.2231891; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2231891

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