Shock waves and turbulence in a hypersonic inlet

J. J. Liu, Y. Sheng, J. P. Sislian

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1 Citation (Scopus)


A numerical investigation for an axisymmetric hypersonic turbulent inlet flow field of a perfect gas is presented for a three-shock configuration consisting of a biconic and a cowl. An upwind parabolized Navier-Stokes solver based on Roe's scheme is used to compute an oncoming flow Mach number M=8, temperature T=216 K, and pressure P=5.5293×103 N/m2. In order to assess the flow quantities, the interaction between shock and turbulence, and the inlet efficiency, three different flow calculations - laminar, turbulent with incompressible and compressible two-equation k-e{open} turbulence models - have been performed in this work. Computational results show that turbulence is markedly enhanced across an oblique shock with step-like increases in turbulence kinetic energy and dissipation rate. This enhancement is at the expense of the mean kinetic energy of the flow. Therefore, the velocity behind the shock is smaller in turbulent flow and hence the shock becomes stronger. The entropy increase through a shock is caused not only by the amplification of random molecular motion, but also by the enhancement of the chaotic turbulent flow motion. However, only the compressible k-e{open} turbulence model can properly predict a decrease in turbulence length scale across a shock. Our numerical simulation reveals that the incompressible k-e{open} turbulence model exaggerates the interaction between shock and turbulence with turbulence kinetic energy and dissipation rate remaining high and almost undissipated far beyond the shock region. It is shown that proper modeling of turbulence is essential for a realistic prediction of hypersonic inlet flowfield. The performed study shows that the viscous effect is not restricted in the boundary layer but extends into the main flow behind a shock wave. The loss of the available energy in the inlet performance therefore needs to be determined from the shock-turbulence interaction. The present study predicts that the inlet efficiency becomes relatively lower when turbulence is taken into account.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)237-245
Number of pages9
JournalShock Waves
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1995 Mar

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

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