Drag Reduction and Heat Transfer Mitigation for Blunt Bodies in Hypersonic Flight -- A Survey of Techniques


This paper presents a summary and comparison of results of parametric numerical studies examining various techniques for the reduction of aerodynamic drag (and heat transfer mitigation for selected cases) on a blunt body in Mach 6.5 through Mach 10 flow. These drag reductions are obtained through large-scale flow-field modifications (i.e. shock wave modification) upstream of the blunt body. Flow-field modification is achieved by utilizing different types of highly localized perturbations, including energy, force, mass, and structural perturbations within the upstream flow. Overall drag reductions of up to and exceeding (approximately) 50% are realized for representative energy and fluid-dynamic body-force methods, although the body-force method must directly account for reaction forces felt by the blunt body. Power-based effectiveness for the method with direct deposition of energy into the flow is shown to be very high and is shown to increase rapidly with flight Mach number. Using a related technique described here as hypersonic shadowing-in which a large blunt body is embedded in the wake of one or more very small upstream bodies-overall drag potentially decreases to as low as 20% of baseline (i.e. with no flow-field modification) and heat transfer can decrease to 50% of baseline. This technique is believed to represent the limiting performance for the other (non-structural methods) examined. The physics of the flow-field modifications for the various techniques examined are shown to be very similar in all cases and involves the increase in effective aerodynamic fineness ratio of the blunt body.

Meeting Name

12th AIAA International Space Planes and Hypersonic Systems and Technologies Conference (2003: Dec. 15-19, Norfolk, VA)


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

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© 2003 American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), All rights reserved.

Publication Date

19 Dec 2003