Interactions between shock and acoustic waves in a supersonic inlet diffuser

Jong Y. Oh, Fuhua Ma, Shih Yang Hsieh, Vigor Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The interactions between shock and acoustic waves in a supersonic inlet diffuser are investigated numerically. The model treats the viscous flowfield in an axisymmetric, mixed-compression inlet operating under supercritical conditions. It is solved by means of a finite-volume approach using a four-stage Runge-Kutta scheme for temporal derivatives and the Harten-Yee upwind total-variation-diminishing scheme for spatial terms. Various distinct flow structures, including shock/boundary-layer and shock/shock interactions, are studied under the effects of externally imposed pressure oscillations at the diffuser exit over a wide range of forcing frequencies and amplitudes. As a result of the terminal shock oscillation induced by the impressed disturbances and the cyclic variation of the oblique/normal shock intersection, large vorticity fluctuations are produced in the radial direction. The characteristics of the shock/boundary-layer interactions (such as the size of the separation bubble, the terminal shock configuration, and the vorticity intensity) are also greatly influenced by the acoustic-driven shock oscillation. The overall response of the inlet aerodynamics to acoustic waves can be characterized by the mass-transfer and acoustic-admittance functions at the diffuser exit. Their magnitudes decrease with increasing frequency. A supersonic inlet acts as an effective acoustic damper, absorbing disturbances arising downstream. Severe flow distortion, however, may arise from shock oscillation and subsequently degrade the combustor performance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)486-495
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Propulsion and Power
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Fuel Technology
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Space and Planetary Science

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