McKiernan_Dissertation_v7.pdf (33.03 MB)

Instability and Transition on a Sliced Cone with a Finite-Span Compression Ramp at Mach 6

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posted on 04.05.2020, 00:40 by Gregory R McKiernan
Initial experiments on separated shock/boundary-layer interactions were carried out within the Boeing/AFOSR Mach-6 Quiet Tunnel. Measurements were made of hypersonic laminar-turbulent transition within the separation above a compression corner. This wind tunnel features freestream fluctuations that are similar to those in
flight. The present work focuses on the role of traveling instabilities within the shear layer above the separation bubble.
A 7 degree half-angle cone with a slice and a finite-span compression ramp was designed and tested. Due to a lack of space for post-reattachment sensors, early designs of this
generic geometry did not allow for measurement of a post-reattachment boundary layer. Oil flow and heat transfer measurements showed that by lengthening the ramp, the post-reattachment boundary layer could be measured. A parametric study was completed to determine that a 20 degree ramp angle caused reattachment at 45% of the
total ramp length and provided the best flow field for boundary-layer transition measurements.
Surface pressure fluctuation measurements showed post-reattachment wave packets and turbulent spots. The presence of wave packets suggests that a shear-layer
instability might be present. Pressure fluctuation magnitudes showed a consistent transition Reynolds numbers of 900000, based on freestream conditions and distance
from the nosetip. Pressure fluctuations grew exponentially from less than 1% to roughly 10% of tangent-wedge surface pressure during transition.
A high-voltage pulsed plasma perturber was used to introduce controlled disturbances into the boundary layer. The concept was demonstrated on a straight 7 degree half-angle circular cone. The perturbations successfully excited the second-mode instability at naturally unstable frequencies. The maximum second-mode amplitudes prior to transition were measured to be about 10% of the mean surface static pressure.
The plasma perturber was then used to disturb the boundary layer just upstream of the separation bubble on the cone with the slice and ramp. A traveling instability was measured post-reattachment but the transition location did not change for any tested condition. It appears that the excited shear-layer instability was not the dominant mechanism of transition.


Experimental Studies of Instability and Transition in a Mach-6 Quiet Tunnel

United States Air Force

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Degree Type

Doctor of Philosophy


Aeronautics and Astronautics

Campus location

West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Steven Schneider

Additional Committee Member 2

Jonathan Poggie

Additional Committee Member 3

Sally Bane

Additional Committee Member 4

Bradley Wheaton