Compressible Flow. Through Nozzles,. Diffusers, and Wind Tunnels

Having wondered from what source there is so much difficulty in successfully applying the principles of dynamics to fluids than to solids, finally, turning the matter over more carefully in my mind, I found the true origin of the difficulty; I discovered it to consist of the fact that a certain part of the pressing forces important in forming the throat (so called by me, not considered by others) was neglected, and moreover regarded as if of no importance, for no other reason than the throat is composed of a very small, or even an infinitely small, quantity of fluid, such as occurs whenever fluid passes from a wider place to a narrower, or vice versa, from a narrower to a wider.

Johann Bernoulli; from his Hydraulics, 1743

10.1 Introduction

Chapters 8 and 9 treated normal and oblique waves in supersonic flow. These waves are present on any aerodynamic vehicle in supersonic flight. Aeronautical engineers are concerned with observing the characteristics of such vehicles, especially the gen­eration of lift and drag at supersonic speeds, as well as details of the flow field, including the shock – and expansion-wave patterns. To make such observations, we usually have two standard choices: (1) conduct flight tests using the actual vehicle, and (2) run wind-tunnel tests on a small-scale model of the vehicle. Flight tests, al­though providing the final answers in the full-scale environment, are costly and, not to

say the least, dangerous if the vehicle is unproven. Hence, the vast bulk of supersonic aerodynamic data have been obtained in wind tunnels on the ground. What do such supersonic wind tunnels look like? How do we produce a uniform flow of supersonic gas in a laboratory environment? What are the characteristics of supersonic wind tunnels? The answers to these and other questions are addressed in this chapter.

The first practical supersonic wind tunnel was built and operated by Adolf Buse – mann in Germany in the mid – 1930s, although Prandtl had a small supersonic facility operating as early as 1905 for the study of shock waves. A photograph of Busemann’s tunnel is shown in Figure 10.1. Such facilities proliferated quickly during and after World War II. Today, all modern aerodynamic laboratories have one or more super­sonic wind tunnels, and many are equipped with hypersonic tunnels as well. Such machines come in all sizes; an example of a moderately large hypersonic tunnel is shown in Figure 10.2.

In this chapter, we discuss the aerodynamic fundamentals of compressible flow through ducts. Such fundamentals are vital to the proper design of high-speed wind tunnels, rocket engines, high-energy gas-dynamic and chemical lasers, and jet en­gines, to list just a few. Indeed, the material developed in this chapter is used almost daily by practicing aerodynamicists and is indispensable toward a full understanding of compressible flow.

The road map for this chapter is given in Figure 10.3. After deriving the governing equations, we treat the cases of a nozzle and diffuser separately. Then we merge this information to examine the case of supersonic wind tunnels.

Figure 1 0.3 Road map for Chapter 1 0.