Journal of Fluid Mechanics


The influence of non-equilibrium dissociation on the flow produced by shock impingement on a blunt body

a1 Graduate Aeronautical Laboratories, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91125, USA

Article author query
sanderson sr   [Google Scholar] 
hornung hg   [Google Scholar] 
sturtevant b   [Google Scholar] 


We describe an investigation of the effects of non-equilibrium thermochemistry on the interaction between a weak oblique shock and the strong bow shock formed by a blunt body in hypersonic flow. This type of shock-on-shock interaction, also known as an Edney type IV interaction, causes locally intense enhancement of the surface heat transfer rate. A supersonic jet is formed by the nonlinear interaction that occurs between the two shock waves and elevated heat transfer rates and surface pressures are produced by the impingement of the supersonic jet on the body. The current paper is motivated by previous studies suggesting that real gas effects would significantly increase the severity of the phenomenon.

Experiments are described in which a free-piston shock tunnel is used to produce shock interaction flows with significant gas dissociation. Surprisingly, the data that are obtained show no significant stagnation enthalpy dependence of the ratio of the peak heat transfer rates with and without shock interaction, in contrast to existing belief. The geometry investigated is the nominally two-dimensional flow about a cylinder with coplanar impinging shock wave. Holographic interferometry is used to visualize the flow field and to quantify increases in the stagnation density caused by shock interaction. Time-resolved heat transfer measurements are obtained from surface junction thermocouples about the model forebody.

An improved model is developed to elucidate the finite-rate thermochemical processes occurring in the interaction region. It is shown that severe heat transfer intensification is a result of a jet shock structure that minimizes the entropy rise of the supersonic jet fluid whereas strong thermochemical effects are promoted by conditions that maximize the entropy rise (and hence temperature). This dichotomy underlies the smaller than anticipated influence of real gas effects on the heat transfer intensification. The model accurately predicts the measured heat transfer rates.

Improved understanding of the influence of real gas effects on the shock interaction phenomenon reduces a significant element of risk in the design of hypersonic vehicles. The peak heat transfer rate for the Edney type IV interaction is shown to be well-correlated, in the weak impinging shock regime, by an expression of the form $(\skew1\hat q \,{-}\, 1) \,{\approx}\, 1 \,{+}\, \phi_0 (M_\infty-1)^{\phi_1}\delta_1^{\phi_2}$ for use in practical design calculations.

(Received November 20 2003)
(Revised May 11 2004)

p1 Present address: GE Corporate Research & Development, 1 Research Circle, Niskayuna, NY 12309, USA.


1 Professor Sturtevant died on 20 October 2000 during the preparation of this paper.