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An Experimental Investigation of Leading Edge Shock Wave-Boundary Layer Interaction at Hypersonic Speeds


Kendall, James Madison (1956) An Experimental Investigation of Leading Edge Shock Wave-Boundary Layer Interaction at Hypersonic Speeds. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/6XVK-B331.


The boundary layer on a slender body tends to be very thick at hypersonic speeds. It interacts with the external flow by producing larger flow deflections near the leading edge than those due to the body alone. The increased shock strength affects the boundary layer growth. The flow around the boundary layer gives rise to an induced pressure with a negative gradient which thins the boundary layer and increases the skin friction with respect to the zero pressure gradient value.

Experiments on a flat plate with a sharp leading edge (Reₜ < 100) have been performed in the GALCIT 5 x 5 inch Mach 5.8 hypersonic wind tunnel. The induced pressure was measured by means of orifices in the plate surface. Profiles of Mach number, velocity, mass flow, pressure, and momentum deficiency were calculated from impact pressure surveys normal to the plate surface made at various distances from the leading edge.

The results are as follows: (1) The induced pressures are 25 per cent higher than the weak interaction theory. (2) The boundary layer and the external flow are distinctly separate for Reₓ as low as 6000. (3) The shock wave location is in good agreement with that predicted by the Friedrichs theory for a body shape equivalent to the observed boundary layer displacement thickness. (4) Expansion waves reflected from the shock are weak. (5) The average skin friction coefficient tends toward and nearly matches the zero pressure gradient value downstream, but increases to approximately twice that value as the leading edge is approached.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:(Aeronautics and Mathematics)
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Engineering and Applied Science
Major Option:Aeronautics
Minor Option:Mathematics
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Nagamatsu, Henry T. (advisor)
  • Lees, Lester (advisor)
Thesis Committee:
  • Unknown, Unknown
Defense Date:1 January 1956
Record Number:CaltechETD:etd-03252004-153340
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:1112
Deposited By: Imported from ETD-db
Deposited On:25 Mar 2004
Last Modified:13 Jul 2023 21:38

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