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Investigation of a variable geometry supersonic diffuser


Heppe, R. Richard (1947) Investigation of a variable geometry supersonic diffuser. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology.


A flexible second throat supersonic diffuser has been tested in the GALCIT 2-1/2 inch supersonic wind tunnel at Mach numbers of 2.60 and 3.33. The theoretical minimum area relation for starting a supersonic tunnel has been checked at the two Mach numbers, and the amount by which the height of the second throat may be reduced after the tunnel has been started was determined. Minimum compression ratios for the starting and reduced second throat conditions have been determined and compared with those previously found here and theoretically estimated by Crocco. Effect of nozzle surface roughness on supersonic flow is noted, and Schlieren photographs representing the flow in a variety of conditions are presented. A series of Schlieren photographs shows the flow in the second throat at progressively greater amounts of area reduction.

The theoretical minimum second throat area relation was found to predict the second throat size for starting within 3 percent at both Mach numbers, being conservative by that amount in both cases. Only about 1/3 of the theoretically predicted reduction of second throat area after starting was realized at both Mach numbers before separation of the boundary layer broke down flow throughout the nozzle. Minimum compression ratios were reduced some 9 and 6 percent for Mach numbers 2.60 and 3.33 respectively. These decreases, though not as large as anticipated, nevertheless have the lowest compression ratios ever measured in the GALCIT tunnel, ratios less than Crocco's estimate, heretofore never realized. Transition, though not occurring by means of a normal shock wave, was found to be stable a few inches downstream of the second throat.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Engineering and Applied Science
Major Option:Aeronautics
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Unknown, Unknown
Thesis Committee:
  • Unknown, Unknown
Defense Date:1 May 1947
Record Number:CaltechETD:etd-10302003-162416
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:4325
Deposited By: Imported from ETD-db
Deposited On:06 Nov 2003
Last Modified:26 Dec 2012 03:07

Thesis Files

PDF (Heppe_rr_1947.pdf) - Final Version
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