Talks & Lectures
31 Oct 2019
Edwin A. Stevens Hall 222

Turbulence in Hypersonic Flow

Department of Mechanical Engineering

Professor Alexander J. Smits

Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Princeton University


Turbulent boundary layers on supersonic and hypersonic vehicles exhibit strong gradients in velocity, temperature and Mach number, so that they behave differently from turbulent boundary layers in subsonic flow. However, truly spectacular effects occur when these high-speed boundary layers interact with shock waves, as might occur at the entry to a combustor system, or in the region close to a deflected control surface. The shock can cause the flow to separate, and it always produces strong amplification of the turbulence, large increases in surface heat transfer, and severe unsteady pressure loading on the vehicle. Understanding the behavior of turbulence under these conditions is crucial to the design of supersonic and hypersonic vehicles, particularly for space access, re-entry from space, and entry into extra-terrestrial planetary atmospheres. Here, I will give a survey of our current understanding, illustrated using examples taken from ongoing research at Princeton and elsewhere.


Dr. Smits is the Eugene Higgins Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Princeton. His research interests are centered on fundamental, experimental research in turbulence and fluid mechanics. In 2004, Dr. Smits received the Fluid Dynamics Award of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA). In 2007, he received the Fluids Engineering Award from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), the Pendray Aerospace Literature Award from the AIAA, and the President's Award for Distinguished Teaching from Princeton University. In 2014, he received the Aerodynamic Measurement Technology Award from the AIAA. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the American Academy for the Advancement of Science, the Australasian Fluid Mechanics Society, and he is a Member of the National Academy of Engineering. He is currently the Editor-in-Chief of the AIAA Journal.


For more information, please contact Prof. Nick Parziale at [email protected]

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