The elemental equation governing heat transfer in aerodynamic flows is the internal energy equation. For a boundary layer flow, a double integration of the Reynolds-averaged form of this equation provides an expression of the wall heat flux in terms of the integrated effects, over the boundary layer, of various physical processes: turbulent dissipation, mean dissipation, turbulent heat flux, etc. Recently available direct numerical simulation data for a Mach 11 cold-wall turbulent boundary layer allows a comparison of the exact contributions of these terms in the energy equation to the wall heat flux with their counterparts modeled in the Reynolds-averaged Navier-Stokes (RANS) framework. Various approximations involved in RANS, both closure models as well as approximations involved in adapting incompressible RANS models to a compressible form, are assessed through examination of the internal energy balance. There are a number of potentially problematic assumptions and terms identified through this analysis. The effect of compressibility corrections of the dilatational dissipation type is explored, as is the role of the modeled turbulent dissipation, in the context of wall heat flux predictions. The results indicate several potential avenues for RANS model improvement for hypersonic cold-wall boundary-layer flows.


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering


Office of Naval Research, Grant DE-NA0003525

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)


Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version

Final Version

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Publication Date

01 Jul 2022