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Activity title

Predicting Hypersonic Boundary-Layer Transition on Complex Geometries

Activity Reference



Applied Vehicle Technology

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Boundary Layer, Experiment, Hypersonics, Simulation, Transition


Hypersonic vehicles offer large potentials for improvement in warfighting, since high speed increases survivability, offers a response to counter-stealth technology, and makes them natural for attack of time-critical targets, and for missile defense. Transition is critical to the successful design of these vehicles, since it can have a large effect on aeroheating and aerodynamic controls. Although researchers have been working toward mechanism-based prediction methods, designers are still using empirical methods, and a gap has developed between the two groups that needs to be closed. It appears that additional progress will now be possible by coordinating further international research efforts in a difficult but important area.


The proposed Task Group is to facilitate an international collaboration of leading experimentalists and numerical simulation experts towards improved hypersonic prediction capabilities. The simulation approaches will be mechanism-based and the team will use new opportunities for validation in ground facilities. Progress is to be delivered in the form of a final report, and the further education of technical specialists from the cooperating nations. These technical specialists will then be better prepared to contribute to the various national missile-development programs that may be ongoing or newly developed.


Details are to be developed by the ET and supplied in the TOR. Subtasks are to include (1) transition induced by boundary-layer separation at compression corners, and the prediction of the transitional flows that can occur within and downstream of these separation bubbles, (2) transition due to the interaction of multuple instability modes, and (3) second-mode-induced transition that may be controlled using ultrasonically absorbing carbon-carbon thermal protection systems.

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