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Proximal Bodies in Hypersonic Flow


Laurence, Stuart Jon (2006) Proximal Bodies in Hypersonic Flow. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/VZJV-KJ48.


The problem of proximal bodies in hypersonic flow is encountered in several important situations, both natural and man-made. The present work seeks to investigate one aspect of this problem by exploring the forces experienced by a secondary body when some part of it is within the shocked region created by a primary body travelling at hypersonic speeds.

An analytical methodology based on the blast wave analogy is developed and used to predict the secondary force coefficients for simple geometries in both two and three dimensions. When the secondary body is entirely inside the primary shocked region, the nature of the lateral coefficient is found to depend strongly on the relative size of the two bodies. For two spheres, the methodology predicts that the secondary body will experience an exclusively attractive lateral force if the secondary diameter is larger then one-sixth the primary diameter. The analytical results are compared with numerical simulations carried out using the AMROC software and good agreement is obtained if an appropriate normalization for the lateral displacement is used.

Results from a series of experiments in the T5 hypervelocity shock tunnel are also presented and compared with perfect-gas numerical simulations, again with good agreement. In order to model this situation experimentally, a new force-measurement technique for short-duration hypersonic facilities has been developed, and results from the validation experiments are included.

Finally, the analytical methodology is used to model two physical situations. First, the entry of a binary asteroid system into the Earth's atmosphere is simulated. Second, a model for a fragmenting meteoroid in a planetary atmosphere is developed, and simulations are carried out to determine whether the secondary scatter patterns in the Sikhote-Alin crater field may be attributed to aerodynamic interactions between fragments rather than to secondary fragmentation. It is found that while aerodynamic interactions lead to increased secondary crater grouping, these groups do not exhibit the typically elliptical shape that we would expect secondary fragmentation to produce.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:aerodynamic interactions; blast wave analogy; hypersonic force measurement; meteoroid fragmentation
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Engineering and Applied Science
Major Option:Aeronautics
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Hornung, Hans G.
Thesis Committee:
  • Hornung, Hans G. (chair)
  • Pullin, Dale Ian
  • Stevenson, David John
  • Shepherd, Joseph E.
  • Colonius, Tim
Defense Date:4 February 2006
Non-Caltech Author Email:stulaurence (AT)
Record Number:CaltechETD:etd-04242006-172719
Persistent URL:
Laurence, Stuart Jon0000-0001-8760-8366
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:1490
Deposited By: Imported from ETD-db
Deposited On:25 Apr 2006
Last Modified:25 Oct 2023 23:13

Thesis Files

PDF (sjl_thesis.pdf) - Final Version
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