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Measurements in the Boundary Layer on a Smooth Flat Plate in Supersonic Flow


Coles, Donald Earl (1953) Measurements in the Boundary Layer on a Smooth Flat Plate in Supersonic Flow. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/0DDW-9S38.


In Section I available measurements in low-speed turbulent boundary layer flow are compared with a simple analysis based on functional similarity, and the boundary layer is found to be unique within the accuracy of the experimental data. Some consequences of the mean equations of motion are obtained, including the distribution of shearing stress through the boundary layer, and an attempt is made to generalize the relationship known as the law of the wall to flows with variable density.

In Section II some problems encountered in the development and use of the floating surface element and other instrumentation are discussed in detail.

In Section III are presented measurements of mean and local surface friction carried out on a flat plate model in the 20-inch supersonic wind tunnel at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The boundary layer flow is studied for free stream Mach numbers of 2.0, 2.6, 3.7, and 4.5. The experiments, which involve nominal Reynolds numbers from 2 x 105 to 9 x 106, include a few measurements in laminar flow, but emphasize transition and the turbulent regime. The effectiveness of various tripping devices is mentioned, and the problem of defining an effective Reynolds number for the fully turbulent flow is discussed at length. Finally, turbulent boundary layer profile measurements are examined for consistency with low-speed data, with a generalized mixing length theory, and with the analysis of Section I of the present report.

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):
  • Liepmann, Hans Wolfgang
Thesis Committee:
  • Unknown, Unknown
Defense Date:1 January 1953
Record Number:CaltechETD:etd-05092003-180051
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:1703
Deposited By: Imported from ETD-db
Deposited On:14 May 2003
Last Modified:17 May 2023 22:53

Thesis Files

PDF (Coles_d_1953.pdf) - Final Version
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