In this work, we develop an optoelectronic system for in situ observation and measurement in hypervelocity flows. The system has the advantages of strong radiation resistance and self-adaptive exposure time of the cameras. Thermal ablation test using flat plate thermal protection system material was carried out in an arc jet. Real-time ablation images were captured and analyzed to understand the thermal ablation mechanism. Through the modified algorithms of particle image velocity (PIV) and image feature detection, the surface recession rate and the velocity distribution of the melted droplets flowing on the sample surface were obtained. The experimental results demonstrate vast potential for using this in situ measuring technique in various engineering applications. Finally, the formation and merging of the melted droplets was analyzed based on energy theory, and the numerical simulation results showed good agreement with the actual experimental results.

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