Transition Delay in Hypervelocity Boundary Layers By Means of CO₂/Acoustic Instability Interaction
The potential for hypervelocity boundary layer stabilization was investigated using the concept of damping Mack's second mode disturbances by vibrational relaxation of carbon dioxide (CO₂) within the boundary layer. Experiments were carried out in the Caltech T5 hypervelocity shock tunnel and the Caltech Mach 4 Ludwieg tube. The tests used 5-degree half-angle cones (at zero angle of attack) equipped near the front of the cone with an injector consisting of either discrete holes or a porous section. Gaseous CO₂, argon (Ar) and air were injected into the boundary layer and the effect on boundary layer stability was evaluated by optical visualization, heat flux measurements and numerical simulation. In T5, tests were carried out with CO₂ in the free stream as well as injection. Injection experiments in T5 were inconclusive; however, experiments with mixtures of air/CO₂ in the free stream demonstrated a clear stabilizing effect, limiting the predicted amplification N-factors to be less than 13. During the testing activities in T5, significant improvements were made in experimental technique and data analysis. Testing in the Ludwieg tube enabled optical visualization and the identification of a shear-layer like instability downstream of the injector. Experiments showed and numerical simulation confirmed that injection has a destabilizing influence beyond a critical level of injection mass flow rate. A modified injection geometry was tested in the Ludwieg tube and we demonstrated that it was possible to cancel the shock wave created by injection under carefully selected conditions. However, computations indicate and experiments demonstrate that shear-layer like flow downstream of the porous wall injector is unstable and can transition to turbulence while the injected gas is mixing with the free stream. We conclude that the idea of using vibrational relaxation to delay boundary layer transition is a sound concept but there are significant practical issues to be resolved to minimize the flow disturbance associated with introducing the vibrationally-active gas into the boundary layer.
Sponsor: Air Force Office of Scientific Research Grant No: FA9550-10-1-0491.
Published - a619007.pdf