# Isentropic Relations

We have defined an isentropic process as one which is both adiabatic and reversible. Consider Equation (7.14). For an adiabatic process, Sq = 0. Also, for a reversible process, 6/.virrev = 0. Thus, for an adiabatic, reversible process, Equation (7.14) yields ds = 0, or entropy is constant; hence, the word “isentropic.” For such an isentropic

Equation (7.32) is very important; it relates pressure, density, and temperature for an isentropic process. We use this equation frequently, so make certain to brand it on

your mind. Also, keep in mind the source of Equation (7.32); it stems from the first law and the definition of entropy. Therefore, Equation (7.32) is basically an energy relation for an isentropic process.

Why is Equation (7.32) so important? Why is it frequently used? Why are we so interested in an isentropic process when it seems so restrictive—requiring both adiabatic and reversible conditions? The answers rest on the fact that a large number of practical compressible flow problems can be assumed to be isentropic—contrary to what you might initially think. For example, consider the flow over an airfoil or through a rocket engine. In the regions adjacent to the airfoil surface and the rocket nozzle walls, a boundary layer is formed wherein the dissipative mechanisms of viscosity, thermal conduction, and diffusion are strong. Hence, the entropy increases within these boundary layers. However, consider the fluid elements moving outside the boundary layer. Here, the dissipative effects of viscosity, etc., are very small and can be neglected. Moreover, no heat is being transferred to or from the fluid element (i. e., we are not heating the fluid element with a Bunsen burner or cooling it in a refrigerator); thus, the flow outside the boundary layer is adiabatic. Consequently, the fluid elements outside the boundary layer are experiencing an adiabatic reversible process—namely, isentropic flow. In the vast majority of practical applications, the viscous boundary layer adjacent to the surface is thin compared with the entire flow field, and hence large regions of the flow can be assumed isentropic. This is why a study of isentropic flow is directly applicable to many types of practical compressible flow problems. In turn, Equation (7.32) is a powerful relation for such flows, valid for a calorically perfect gas.

This ends our brief review of thermodynamics. Its purpose has been to give a quick summary of ideas and equations which will be employed throughout our subsequent discussions of compressible flow. For a more thorough discussion of the power and beauty of thermodynamics, see any good thermodynamics text, such as References 22 to 24.

Consider a Boeing 747 flying at a standard altitude of 36,000 ft. The pressure at a point on the | Example 7.1

wing is 400 lb/ft2. Assuming isentropic flow over the wing, calculate the temperature at this

point.

Solution  At a standard altitude of 36,000 ft, px = 476 lb/ft2 and Тх = 391 °R. From Equation (7.32),