Journal of Fluid Mechanics


The transient start of supersonic jets


a1 Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Princeton, NJ 08544, USA


This study investigates the initial transient hydrodynamic evolution of highly under-expanded slit and round jets. A closed-form analytic similarity solution is derived for the temporal evolution of temperature, pressure and density at the jet head for vanishing diffusive fluxes, generalizing a previous model of Chekmarev using Chernyi's boundary-layer method for hypersonic flows. Two-dimensional numerical simulations were also performed to investigate the flow field during the initial stages over distances of ~ 1000 orifice radii. The parameters used in the simulations correspond to the release of pressurized hydrogen gas into ambient air, with pressure ratios varying between approximately 100 and 1000. The simulations confirm the similarity laws derived theoretically and indicate that the head of the jet is laminar at early stages, while complex acoustic instabilities are established at the sides of the jet, involving shock interactions within the vortex rings, in good agreement with previous experimental findings. Very good agreement is found between the present model, the numerical simulations and previous experimental results obtained for both slit and round jets during the transient establishment of the jet. Criteria for Rayleigh–Taylor instability of the decelerating density gradients at the jet head are also derived, as well as the formulation of a model addressing the ignition of unsteady expanding diffusive layers formed during the sudden release of reactive gases.

(Received April 12 2006)

(Revised November 15 2006)


p1 Present address: Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Ottawa, 161 Louis Pasteur, Ottawa, Ontario K1N 6N5, Canada;