Purdue University Graduate School
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posted on 2022-05-03, 13:16 authored by Mark E NoftzMark E Noftz

Air intakes are a fundamental part of all high speed airbreathing propulsion concepts. The main purpose of an intake is to capture and compress freestream air for the engine. At hypersonic speeds, the intake’s surface and shock structure effectively slow the airflow through ram-air compression. In supersonic-combustion ramjets, the captured airflow remains supersonic and generates complicated shock structures. The design of these systems require careful evaluation of proposed operating conditions and relevant aerodynamic phenomena. The physics of these systems, such as the intake’s operability range, mass capture efficiency, back-pressure resiliency, and intake unstart margins are all open areas of research. 

A high speed intake, dubbed the Indiana Intake Testbed, was developed for experimentation within the Boeing-AFOSR Mach 6 Quiet Tunnel at Purdue University. This inward-turning, mixed compression intake was developed from osculating axisymmetric theory and uses a streamtracing routine to create a shape-transitioned geometry. To account for boundary layer growth, a viscous correction was implemented on the intake’s compression surfaces. This comprehensive independent design code was pursued to generate an unrestricted geometry that satisfies academic inquiry into fluid dynamic interactions relevant to intakes. Additionally, the design code contains built-in analysis tools that are compared against CFD calculations and experimental data. 

Two blockage models were constructed and outfitted with Kulite pressure transducers to detect possible intake start and unstart effects. Due to an error in the design code, the preliminary blockage models’ lower surfaces were oversized. The two intake models were tested over a freestream Reynolds number sweep, under noisy and quiet flow, at one non-zero angle of attack, and at a singular back-pressure condition. Back-pressure effects acted to unstart the intake and provide a comparison between forced-unstart and started states. The experimental campaign cataloged both tunnel starting and inlet starting conditions, which informed the design of the finalized model. The finalized model is presented herein. Future experiments to study isolator shock-trains, shock-wave boundary layer interactions, and possible instances of boundary layer transition on the intake’s compression surface are planned. 


Multidisciplinary Hypersonics Program (MHP), Award Number: FA8650-20-2-2405, Awarding Body: Air Force Research Laboratory


Degree Type

  • Master of Science in Aeronautics and Astronautics


  • Aeronautics and Astronautics

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Joseph S. Jewell

Additional Committee Member 2

Jonathan Poggie

Additional Committee Member 3

Steven P. Schneider

Additional Committee Member 4

Brian E. Rice