# Aerodynamics C Summary

1. Basic Concepts
In this summary we will examine compressible ﬂows. But before we venture into the depths of the
aerodynamics, we will examine some basic concepts.
1.1 Basic Concepts of Gases
Usually the atoms in a gas exert forces on each other. If these intermolecular forces are negligible, we
are dealing with a perfect gas. For perfect gases the following equation of state is applicable:
p = ρRT, (1.1.1)
where p is the pressure, ρ is the density and T is the temperature. R is the speciﬁc gas constant.
Its value is R = 287J/kg K at standard sea-level conditions.
Every molecule in a gas has a certain amount of energy. The sum of all these energies is called the
internal energy of the gas. The internal energy per unit mass is called the speciﬁc internal energy
e. There also is the speciﬁc enthalpy h, deﬁned as
h = e + pv, (1.1.2)
where v = 1/ρ is the speciﬁc volume. For a perfect gas, both e and h are functions of only the
temperature T. In fact, we have
de = c
v
dT and dh = c
p
dT, (1.1.3)
where c
v
and c
p
are the speciﬁc heat at constant volume and speciﬁc heat at constant pressure,
respectively. Often c
v
and c
p
also depend on the temperature T. If they can be assumed constant, then
the gas is called a calorically perfect gas. We then have
e = c
v
T and h = c
p
T. (1.1.4)
Let’s take a closer look at the variables c
v
, c
p
and R. There are relations between them. If we also deﬁne
γ = c
p
/c
v
, then it can be shown that
γ =
c
p
c
v
, R = c
p
−c
v
, (1.1.5)
c
p
=
γR
γ −1
, c
v
=
R
γ −1
. (1.1.6)
1.2 The First Law of Thermodynamics
Let’s consider a ﬁxed mass of gas, called the system. The region outside the system is called the
surroundings. In between the surroundings and the system is the boundary. We can now state the
ﬁrst law of thermodynamics, being
de = δq + δw. (1.2.1)
Here δq is the amount of heat added and δw is the amount of work done on the system.
Heat can be added and work can be done in many ways. In adiabatic processes no heat is added or
taken away from the system. In reversible processes things like mass diﬀusion, viscosity and thermal
conductivity are absent. Finally isentropic processes are both adiabatic and reversible.
1
1.3 The Second Law of Thermodynamics
It is time to deﬁne the entropy s of a system. The second law of thermodynamics states that
ds ≥
δq
T
, (1.3.1)
where there is only equality for reversible processes. Furthermore, if the process is adiabatic, then δq = 0
and thus also
ds ≥ 0. (1.3.2)
If the process is both reversible and adiabatic, then ds = 0. The entropy is thus constant for isentropic
processes. (This also explains why these processes were named isentropic.)
Now let’s try to derive an equation for the entropy. We do this using the ﬁrst law of thermodynamics.
For a reversible process it can be shown that δw = −p dv. Also we have δq = T ds. From this we can
ﬁnd that
T ds = de + p dv = dh −v dp. (1.3.3)
We can combine the above relations with the equation of state and the relations for de and dh. Doing
this will eventually result in
s
2
−s
1
= c
p
ln
T
2
T
1
−Rln
p
2
p
1
= c
v
ln
T
2
T
1
+ Rln
v
2
v
1
. (1.3.4)
For isentropic processes we have ds = 0 and thus s
2
−s
1
= 0. Using this fact, we can ﬁnd that
p
2
p
1
=

ρ
2
ρ
1

γ
=

T
2
T
1

γ
γ−1
. (1.3.5)
1.4 Compressibility
Let’s consider some substance. If we increase the pressure on it, its volume will decrease. We can now
deﬁne the compressibility τ as
τ = −
1
v
dv
dp
. (1.4.1)
However, when the pressure is increased often also the temperature and the entropy increase. To erase
these eﬀects, we deﬁne the isothermal compressibility τ
T
and the isentropic compressibility τ
s
as
the compressibility at isothermal and isentropic processes, respectively. In an equation, this becomes
τ
T
= −
1
v

∂v
∂p

T
and τ
s
= −
1
v

∂v
∂p

s
. (1.4.2)
But how can we use this? Using v = 1/ρ we can derive that
dρ = ρτdp. (1.4.3)
This equation helps us to judge whether a ﬂow is compressible. A ﬂow is incompressible when the
density stays (more or less) constant throughout the process. If the density varies, then the ﬂow is
compressible. For low-speed ﬂows dp is small, so also dρ is small. The ﬂow is thus incompressible. For
high-speed ﬂows the pressure will change a lot more. Therefore dρ is not small anymore, and the ﬂow is
thus compressible.
2
1.5 Stagnation Conditions
Let’s consider a ﬂow with velocity V . If we move along with the ﬂow, we can measure a certain static
pressure p. We can also measure the density ρ, the temperature T, the Mach number M, and so on. All
these quantities are static quantities.
Now let’s suppose we slow down the ﬂow adiabatically to V = 0. The temperature, pressure and density
of the ﬂow now change. The new value of the temperature is deﬁned as the total temperature T
t
. The
corresponding total enthalpy is h
t
= c
p
T
t
.
Using a rather lengthy derivation, it can be shown that the quantity h + V
2
/2 stays constant along a
h
t
= h +
V
2
2
= constant. (1.5.1)
For a calorically perfect gas (with constant c
p
) we also have T
t
= h
t
/c
p
= constant. Keep in mind that
this only holds for adiabatic ﬂows.
We can expand this idea even further, if the ﬂow is also reversible, and thus isentropic. In this case, it
turns out that the total pressure p
t
and the total density ρ
t
also stay constant along a streamline.
3
2. Normal Shock Waves
Where there are supersonic ﬂows, there are usually also shock waves. A fundamental type of shock wave
is the normal shock wave – the shock wave normal to the ﬂow direction. We will examine that type
of shock wave in this chapter.
2.1 Basic Relations
Let’s consider a rectangular piece of air (the system) around a normal shock wave, as is shown in ﬁgure
2.1. To the left of this shock wave are the initial properties of the ﬂow (denoted by the subscript 1). To
the right are the conditions behind the wave.
Figure 2.1: A normal shock wave.
We can already note a few things about the ﬂow. It is a steady ﬂow (the properties stay constant in
time). It is also adiabatic, since no heat is added. No viscous eﬀects are present between the system and
its boundaries. Finally, there are no body forces.
Now what can we derive? Using the continuity equation, we can ﬁnd that the mass ﬂow that enters the
system on the left is ρ
1
u
1
A
1
, with u the velocity of the ﬂow in x-direction. The mass ﬂow that leaves the
system on the right is ρ
2
u
2
A
2
. However, since the system is rectangular, we have A
1
= A
2
. So we ﬁnd
that
ρ
1
u
1
= ρ
2
u
2
. (2.1.1)
We can also use the momentum equation. The momentum entering the system every second is given by

1
u
1
A
1
)u
1
. The momentum ﬂow leaving the system is identically (ρ
2
u
2
A
2
)u
2
. The net force acting on
the system is given by p
1
A
1
−p
2
A
2
. Combining everything, we can ﬁnd that
p
1
+ ρ
1
u
2
1
= p
2
+ ρ
2
u
2
2
. (2.1.2)
Finally let’s look at the energy. The energy entering the system every second is (ρ
1
u
1
A
1
)

e
1
+ u
2
1
/2

.
Identically, the energy leaving the system is (ρ
2
u
2
A
2
)

e
2
+ u
2
2
/2

. No heat is added to the system (the
ﬂow is adiabatic). There is work done on the system though. The amount of work done every second is
p
1
A
1
u
1
−p
2
A
2
u
2
. Once more, we can combine everything to get
h
1
+
u
2
1
2
= h
2
+
u
2
2
2
. (2.1.3)
This equation states that the total enthalpy is the same on both sides of the shock wave. Since the shock
wave was adiabatic, we actually already knew that. So this was no surprising result.
The three equations we have just derived hold for all one-dimensional, steady, adiabatic, inviscid ﬂows.
But let’s take a closer look at them. Let’s suppose that all upstream conditions ρ
1
, u
1
, p
1
, h
1
and T
1
are
known. We can’t solve for all the downstream conditions just yet. We have only three equations, while
we have four unknowns. We need a few more equations. These equations are
h = c
p
T, (2.1.4)
4
p = ρRT. (2.1.5)
That wasn’t much new, was it? We now have 5 unknowns and 5 equations. So we can solve everything.
2.2 The Speed of Sound
A special kind of normal shock wave is a sound wave. In fact, it is an inﬁnitesimally weak normal shock
wave. Because of this, dissipative phenomena (like viscosity and thermal conduction) can be neglected,
making it an isentropic ﬂow.
At what velocity does this shock wave travel? Let’s call this velocity the speed of sound a. Note that
a = u
1
. Because the shock wave is very weak, we can also state that p
2
= p
1
+ dp, ρ
2
= ρ
1
+ dρ and
a
2
= a
1
+ da. If we combine these facts with the three equations we derived in the previous paragraph,
we eventually ﬁnd that
a
2
=
dp

=

∂p
∂ρ

s
. (2.2.1)
The last part in the above equation is to indicate that the changes in p and ρ occur isentropically. For
isentropic processes we have
p = cρ
γ

∂p
∂ρ

s
=
γp
ρ
. (2.2.2)
This results in
a =

γp
ρ
=

γRT, (2.2.3)
where we used the equation of state in the last part. So apparently, for a given medium, the speed of
sound only depends on the temperature.
Do you still remember the compressibility we introduced in the previous chapter? From the equation
dρ = ρτdp, we can also derive that
a =

1
ρτ
s
. (2.2.4)
Note that we have used the isentropic compressibility because the process is isentropic. So we see that
the lower the compressibility of a substance, the faster sound travels in it.
2.3 The Mach Number
The Mach number M is deﬁned as
M =
u
a
. (2.3.1)
A lot of properties can be derived from the Mach number. Let’s recall the total temperature T
0
. This
can be found using
c
p
T
0
= c
p
T +
u
2
2
. (2.3.2)
From this we can derive that
T
0
T
= 1 +
γ −1
2
M
2
. (2.3.3)
Using the isentropic ﬂow relations, we can also ﬁnd that
p
0
p
=

1 +
γ −1
2
M
2

γ
γ−1
, (2.3.4)
5
ρ
0
ρ
=

1 +
γ −1
2
M
2
1
γ−1
. (2.3.5)
From equation (2.3.2) we can also derive that
a
2
γ −1
+
u
2
2
=
a
2
0
γ −1
= constant. (2.3.6)
2.4 Sonic Conditions
When you slow an airﬂow down adiabatically to u = 0 (and thus M = 0) you ﬁnd the total temperature T
t
,
total pressure p
t
, total density ρ
t
, and so on. Similarly, we can change the velocity of a ﬂow adiabatically
such that M = 1. The corresponding temperature at sonic conditions is denoted by T

. The
characteristic speed of sound a

can now be found using a

=

γRT

. However, we can also
determine that
a
2
γ −1
+
u
2
2
=
a
∗2
γ −1
+
a
∗2
2
=
γ + 1
2 (γ −1)
a
∗2
= constant. (2.4.1)
Just like we can examine the speed of sound at sonic conditions, we can also look at the temperature T

,
pressure p

and density ρ

at such conditions. By inserting M = 1 in equations (2.3.3) to (2.3.5) we ﬁnd
that
T
0
T

=
γ + 1
2
,
p
0
p

=

γ + 1
2

γ
γ−1
and
ρ
0
ρ

=

γ + 1
2
1
γ−1
. (2.4.2)
Finally we can deﬁne the characteristic Mach number M

as
M

=
u
a

. (2.4.3)
We can ﬁnd that M and M

are related, according to
M
2
=
2M
∗2
(γ + 1) −(γ −1) M
∗2
⇔ M
∗2
=
(γ + 1) M
2
2 + (γ −1) M
2
. (2.4.4)
The parameters M and M

are quite similar. If one is bigger than 1, so is the other, and vice verse.
2.5 Normal Shock Wave Relations
There are several other relations that hold for normal shock waves. We will discuss some of them. We
a
∗2
= u
1
u
2
⇔ 1 = M

1
M

2
. (2.5.1)
From this follows that
M
2
2
=
2 + (γ −1) M
2
1
2γM
2
1
−(γ −1)
. (2.5.2)
This is an important relation. If M
1
> 1 we have M
2
< 1. If M
1
= 1, then also M
2
= 1. (If this is the
case we are dealing with an inﬁnitely weak shock wave, called a Mach wave.) However, if M
1
< 1 it
would seem that M
2
> 1. But this seems rather odd. Suddenly a subsonic ﬂow becomes supersonic! A
more detailed look would show that in this case also the entropy s would decrease. But the second law of
thermodynamics states that the entropy can only increase. What can we conclude from this? It means
that in subsonic ﬂows no shock waves can appear. Shock waves are thus only present in supersonic ﬂows.
Now we know how to ﬁnd M
2
. But can we also ﬁnd the other properties behind the shock wave? It turns
out that we can, using
6
ρ
2
ρ
1
=
u
1
u
2
=
(γ + 1) M
2
1
2 + (γ −1) M
2
1
, (2.5.3)
p
2
p
1
= 1 +

γ + 1

M
2
1
−1

, (2.5.4)
T
2
T
1
=
h
2
h
1
=
p
2
p
1
ρ
1
ρ
2
=

1 +

γ + 1

M
2
1
−1

2 + (γ −1) M
2
1
(γ + 1) M
2
1

. (2.5.5)
It would also be interesting to know how the total temperature T
t
and the total pressure p
t
change across
the shock wave. Since a shockwave is an adiabatic process we know that h
1
= h
2
and thus also T
t,1
= T
t,2
.
Finally, using the relation for entropy we can ﬁnd that
p
t,2
p
t,1
= e

s
2
−s
1
R
. (2.5.6)
So what can we derive from all the above equations? When passing through a shock wave, the properties
of the ﬂow change drastically. The pressure, temperature and density increase, while the total pressure
and the Mach number decrease. The total temperature and the enthalpy stay constant.
2.6 Measuring the Velocity
When an aircraft is ﬂying, it would be nice to know how fast it is going. To ﬁnd this out, a Pitot tube
is used, measuring the total pressure p
t
. We also assume that the static pressure p is known.
To ﬁnd the velocity during a subsonic ﬂight, we can simply use the relation
p
t
p
=

1 +
γ −1
2
M
2

γ
γ−1
. (2.6.1)
Solving for M
2
and using u
2
= M
2
a
2
we ﬁnd that
u
2
=
2a
2
γ −1

p
t
p

γ−1
γ
−1

. (2.6.2)
So to ﬁnd the velocity, we also need to know the speed of sound. But if we know that, it’s easy to ﬁnd
the velocity.
To ﬁnd the velocity during a supersonic ﬂight is a bit more diﬃcult, since there is a shock wave. This
time the Pitot tube measures the total pressure behind the shock wave p
t,2
. The static pressure that was
known is now called p
1
. This time we need to use the relation
p
t,2
p
1
=
p
t,2
p
2
p
2
p
1
=

(γ + 1)
2
M
2
1
4γM
2
1
−2 (γ −1)

γ
γ−1
(1 −γ) + 2γM
2
1
γ + 1
. (2.6.3)
This equation is called the Rayleigh Pitot tube formula. In its derivation we used the normal shock
wave relations for the ratio p
2
/p
1
. We used the relation for total pressure in an isentropic ﬂow for the
ratio p
t,2
/p
2
. From this equation the Mach number can be solved. Then only the speed of sound is still
needed to ﬁnd the ﬂight velocity u.
7
3. Oblique Shock Waves
In reality normal shock waves don’t often occur. Oblique shock waves are more common. We would like
to know what causes them, and how we can calculate ﬂow properties around them.
3.1 Shock Wave Angles
When an aircraft is ﬂying, it creates disturbances in the ﬂow. These disturbance spread around with the
speed of sound a. Figure 3.1 visualizes these disturbances for an airplane traveling from point A to point
B.
Figure 3.1: Visualization of the disturbances in a ﬂow.
When the airplane ﬂies at a subsonic velocity (V < a), the disturbances can move upstream. If the
airplane, however, ﬂies at a supersonic speed (V > a), the disturbances can not. In fact, they all stay
within a cone and stack up at the edge, forming a so-called Mach wave. This cone has an angle µ,
where µ is called the Mach angle. From ﬁgure 3.1 it can be derived that
sin µ =
at
V t
=
a
V
=
1
M
. (3.1.1)
The above relation is, however, only theoretical. In practice the shock wave doesn’t have an angle µ but
an angle β, called the wave angle. For shock waves we always have β > µ. Finally there is the special
case with β = 90

, at which we once more have a normal shock wave. So a normal shock wave is just a
special case of the oblique shock wave.
3.2 Oblique Shock Wave Relations
We will try to derive some relations for oblique shock waves. But before we can do that, we need to make
some deﬁnitions.
Figure 3.2: Properties of the oblique shock wave.
8
We know that the velocity V
1
before the shock wave is directed horizontally. We examine two components
of this velocity: The component normal to the shock wave u
1
and the component tangential to the shock
wave w
1
. Corresponding are the Mach number normal to the shock wave M
n,1
and the Mach number
tangential to the shock wave M
t,1
. We can do the same for the velocities after the shock wave (but now
with subscript 2). All the properties have been visualized in ﬁgure 3.2. Also note the deﬂection angle
θ.
Using the variables described above, we can derive some relations. It turns out that these relations are
virtually the same as for a normal shock wave. There’s only one fundamental diﬀerence. Instead of using
the total velocity, we only need to consider the component of the velocity normal to the shock wave
(being u). We then get
ρ
1
u
1
= ρ
2
u
2
, (3.2.1)
p
1
+ ρ
1
u
2
1
= p
2
+ ρ
2
u
2
2
, (3.2.2)
h
1
+
u
2
1
2
= h
2
+
u
2
2
2
. (3.2.3)
But what about the tangential component of the velocity w? Well, using the momentum equation, we
can derive the simple relation
w
1
= w
2
. (3.2.4)
So now we have used the continuity equation, the momentum equation and the energy equation. In the
previous chapter we now continued to express ratios like p
2
/p
1
as a function of the Mach number. We
can do the same again. However, this time we express everything in the component of the Mach number
normal to the ﬂow, being
M
n,1
= M
1
sin β. (3.2.5)
Going through a lot of derivations, we can ﬁnd that
M
2
n,2
=
2 + (γ −1) M
2
n,1
2γM
2
n,1
−(γ −1)
with M
2
=
M
n,2
sin (β −θ)
, (3.2.6)
ρ
2
ρ
1
=
u
1
u
2
=
(γ + 1) M
2
n,1
2 + (γ −1) M
2
n,1
, (3.2.7)
p
2
p
1
= 1 +

γ + 1

M
2
n,1
−1

, (3.2.8)
T
2
T
1
=
p
2
p
1
ρ
1
ρ
2
=

1 +

γ + 1

M
2
n,1
−1

2 + (γ −1) M
2
n,1
(γ + 1) M
2
n,1

. (3.2.9)
We can once more see that these equations are virtually the same as for a normal shock wave. The only
diﬀerence is that we now need to take the component of the Mach number normal to the ﬂow.
3.3 The Deﬂection Angle
There is one last variable for which we can derive an equation. That variable is the deﬂection angle θ.
This angle is usually determined by the shape of the object causing the shock waves. We can ﬁnd that
tan θ =
2
tan β
M
2
1
sin
2
β −1
M
2
1
(γ + cos (2β)) + 2
. (3.3.1)
This equation is called the θ-β-M relation. Many important things can be derived from it.
Let’s suppose we know θ and M
1
. We can then ﬁnd the corresponding values of the wave angle β. For
relatively low values of θ you will ﬁnd two solutions for β. There are thus two possible shock waves. The
9
shock wave with the higher angle of β is called the strong shock wave, while the one with the lower angle
is called the weak shock wave. In nature, the weak shock wave is almost always present. So usually the
smallest of the two solutions can simply be used.
But what happens if θ gets bigger? Soon θ will reach a maximum value θ
max
. At this point there is only
one solution for β. If θ gets even bigger, no solutions exist anymore. So an oblique shock wave is not
possible then. Instead, the shock wave will detach and get a curved shape. We will brieﬂy examine the
detached shock wave later in this chapter.
3.4 Multiple Shock Waves
There are many cases in which multiple shock waves occur. We will examine a few. First let’s consider
a single shock wave with wave angle β
1
, colliding with a wall parallel to the free stream. What happens
to this shock wave?
To answer this question, we look at the ﬂow after the shock wave. This ﬂow has been deﬂected towards
the wall by an angle θ. Since the ﬂow can’t go through the wall, it needs to be deﬂected the other way,
by the same angle θ. To accomplish this, there will be a new shock wave.
You may initially think that this new shock wave has the same wave angle β
1
. This is, however, not true.
To see why, we need to look at the Mach numbers. Before the ﬁrst shock wave, the ﬂow had a Mach
number M
1
. After the ﬁrst shock wave (and before the second), the ﬂow has a lower Mach number M
2
.
By combining this new Mach number with the deﬂection angle θ, the new wave angle β
2
can be found.
So the second shock wave will have a wave angle β
2
.
Now let’s look at another situation: the case where two shock waves A and B intersect each other. At
the point of intersection, two new shock waves C and D will appear, each with diﬀerent wave angles β
C
and β
D
. What information can we use to determine these wave angles?
Experiments have shown that, after the two new waves, the ﬂows from both waves travel in the same
direction. In between these two ﬂows is the so-called slip line. This line is called the slip line, because
the two ﬂows ”slip” with respect to each other – they usually have a diﬀerent velocity.
So the ﬁnal directions of both ﬂows are the same. However, because there is a straight line between the
two ﬂows, their pressures must be equal as well. So p
C,2
= p
D,2
. Using these two boundary conditions
the wave angles β
C
and β
D
can be determined.
3.5 The Detached Shock Wave
If we put a rather blunt body in a supersonic ﬂow, we won’t get an (attached) oblique shock wave.
Instead, we will get a detached shock wave. The properties of this shock wave vary along the shock
wave. At the front of the shock wave, the wave angle β is 90

. So we have a normal shock wave there.
Behind this shock wave, the ﬂow is subsonic.
As we go further from the shock wave, the wave angle β decreases. As β decreases, the deﬂection angle
θ initially increases. It soon reaches its maximum, after which it once more starts to decrease.
Not much after we reached θ
max
, we ﬁnd the sonic line. At this line the Mach number of the ﬂow
behind the shock wave is M
2
= 1. As we continue our travel along the shock wave, the shock wave loses
strength. It’s not longer able to slow down the ﬂow to subsonic velocities. So the Mach number behind
the shock wave M
2
will be above 1.
As we go even further away from our blunt body, the shock wave will continue to lose strength. Eventually,
when θ = 0 again, its strength will have disappeared entirely.
Performing calculations on a blunt shock wave is very diﬃcult. It is therefore not part of this course.
10
3.6 Expansion Waves
Suppose we have an airﬂow moving along a wall, which suddenly makes an angle θ away from the ﬂow.
We then get an expansion wave. In this expansion wave, the airﬂow ”bends” around the wall edge.
While the airﬂow changes direction, its velocity also changes. This happens according to
dθ =

M
2
−1
dV
V
. (3.6.1)
Now how can we ﬁnd the Mach number after the expansion wave? For that, we ﬁrst have to rewrite
dV/V to
dV
V
=
2
2 + (γ −1) M
2
dM
M
. (3.6.2)
Using this, we can ﬁnd that θ is equal to
θ =

M2
M1
2

M
2
−1
2 + (γ −1) M
2
dM
M
. (3.6.3)
The integral is kind of complex, but it can be solved. Because of its importance, it has gotten its own
symbol and name. This integral is named the Prandtl-Meyer function ν(M), deﬁned as
ν(M) =

2

M
2
−1
2 + (γ −1) M
2
dM
M
=

γ + 1
γ −1
arctan

γ −1
γ + 1
(M
2
−1)

−arctan

M
2
−1

. (3.6.4)
Using this function, we can derive an expression for θ, being
θ = ν(M
2
) −ν(M
1
). (3.6.5)
However, we usually don’t need to calculate θ. Usually we know θ and M
1
and we need to know M
2
.
How do we ﬁnd M
2
then? Well, we ﬁrst use M
1
to ﬁnd ν(M
1
). We then add this result up to θ to ﬁnd
ν(M
2
). From this we can derive M
2
(often using tables). In general we can say that M
2
> M
1
.
How do the various ﬂow properties behave during expansion waves? It can be shown that the ﬂow is
isentropic, so the entropy s stays constant. Therefore also T
t
and p
t
stay constant. From this we can
derive that
T
2
T
1
=
2 + (γ −1) M
2
1
2 + (γ −1) M
2
2
, (3.6.6)
ρ
2
ρ
1
=

T
2
T
1
1
γ−1
=

2 + (γ −1) M
2
1
2 + (γ −1) M
2
2

1
γ−1
, (3.6.7)
p
2
p
1
=

T
2
T
1

γ
γ−1
=

2 + (γ −1) M
2
1
2 + (γ −1) M
2
2

γ
γ−1
. (3.6.8)
In a shock wave the pressure, density and temperature increase. In an expansion wave it is exactly
opposite: they all decrease.
11
4. Flow Through Wind Tunnels
To be able to test with supersonic ﬂows, wind tunnels are used. To reach a supersonic ﬂow, they must
have a characteristic shape. Why is this? And how does this shape eﬀect the ﬂow? We will try to ﬁnd
that out.
4.1 Basic Equations
Let’s consider a wind tunnel. The ﬂow in it is not entirely one-dimensional. As the cross-section changes,
the ﬂow also goes in the y and z-direction. However, if we assume that the cross-section changes only very
gradually, then these components are small with respect to the x-direction. We would then approximately
have a one-dimensional ﬂow: a so-called quasi-one-dimensional ﬂow. In this ﬂow all parameters p, ρ,
u and also A only depend on x.
What equations hold for such a ﬂow? From the general continuity, momentum and energy equation we
can derive that
ρ
1
u
1
A
1
= ρ
2
u
2
A
2
, (4.1.1)
p
1
A
1
+ ρ
1
u
2
1
A
1
+

A2
A1
p dA = p
2
A
2
+ ρ
2
u
2
2
A
2
, (4.1.2)
h
1
+
u
2
1
2
= h
2
+
u
2
2
2
. (4.1.3)
There aren’t many surprises in the ﬁrst and third of these equations. But in the middle one is an integral!
This is because the walls of the wind tunnel aren’t horizontal. They can thus also exert a pressure force
in x-direction on the ﬂow.
Of course having an integral in an equation isn’t convenient. To prevent that, we simply consider
two points, with an inﬁnitely small distance dx between them. So we would then have p
2
= p
1
+ dp,
ρ
2
= ρ
1
+ dρ, and so on. Filling this in, and working it all out, we would get

ρ
+
du
u
+
dA
A
= 0, (4.1.4)
dp = −ρudu, (4.1.5)
dh + udu = 0. (4.1.6)
The middle one of these three equations (the one derived from the momentum equation) is called Euler’s
equation. Using the above equations, we can derive new equations for the ﬂow through wind tunnels,
as we will see in the coming paragraph.
4.2 Area, Velocity and Mach Number
We can extensively rewrite and combine the equations we just found. By doing so, we can derive another
important relation, called the area-velocity relation. It states that
dA
A
=

M
2
−1

du
u
. (4.2.1)
Now what does this equation tell us? First let’s suppose that M < 1. If the cross-sectional area gets
bigger (dA > 0), then the velocity decreases (du < 0). Also, if the area gets smaller, the velocity increases.
This is rather intuitive. However, the counterintuitive part comes when M > 1. Now things are exactly
12
opposite. If the area gets bigger, then the velocity also increases. Similarly, if the wind tunnel decreases
in size, then the ﬂow also reduces its velocity.
A special case occurs if M = 1. If this is true, then we must have dA = 0. So a sonic ﬂow can only occur
when the cross-section is at a minimum (at a so-called throat). Note that the ﬂow properties at this
point are the ﬂow properties at sonic conditions, which we denoted with a star (

). So we would have a
pressure p

, a density ρ

and a ﬂow velocity u

= a

.
So we have found that the cross-sectional area A and the Mach number M are linked. But how? To ﬁnd
that out, we can derive that

A
A

2
=
1
M
2

2
γ + 1

1 +
γ −1
2
M
2

γ+1
γ−1
, (4.2.2)
where A

is the cross-sectional area at the throat. (Note that if we ﬁll in M = 1 we would get A = A

.)
This important equation is called the area-Mach number relation. It shows that the Mach number
only depends on the ratio A/A

.
4.3 Flow in a Nozzle
Let’s examine a nozzle. We can consider three parts in it. To the left is a reservoir of air. At this point
the cross-sectional area A is very big. The velocity is therefore very low. The pressure and temperature
at this point are thus equal to the total pressure p
t
and the total temperature T
t
.
In the middle of the nozzle is the throat. To the right of that, the tunnel gets wider again. Eventually
there is an exit, with exit pressure p
e
and exit temperature T
e
.
Flow doesn’t go through the nozzle spontaneously. It ﬂows because p
e
< p
t
. This pressure diﬀerence
causes the air to move. However, the ﬂow doesn’t always reach supersonic velocities. To check how the
ﬂow behaves, we need to examine the ratio p
e
/p
t
. While doing that, we can consider 6 stages.
In the ﬁrst stage, the ratio p
e,1
/p
t
≈ 1. This causes the ﬂow to move, but only slowly. Not much special
is going on. In the second stage, the ratio p
e,2
/p
t
becomes smaller. However, the ﬂow remains subsonic.
In stage three, the ratio p
e,3
/p
t
is suﬃciently small to cause a sonic ﬂow in the throat. So at the throat
ﬁnally M = 1. However, after the throat the ﬂow becomes subsonic again.
Now what happens if we decrease the exit pressure even further? We then reach stage four. In this
stage, the ﬂow becomes supersonic after the throat. However, the pressure diﬀerence isn’t big enough
to continue this supersonic ﬂow. So a normal shock wave appears, slowing the ﬂow down to subsonic
velocities. To know where the shock wave appears, you have to look at the pressure. The pressure drop
in the normal shock wave should be such that, at the exit, the exit pressure p
e,4
is reached.
If we decrease the exit pressure further, the position of the normal shock wave changes. In fact, it moves
to the right. This continues until we reach stage 5. In stage 5 the normal shock wave is at the exit of the
nozzle.
If we decrease the exit pressure just a little bit further, we reach stage 6. A supersonic ﬂow now exits the
nozzle. In this case the exit pressure is always a ﬁxed value p
e,6
. However, now the back pressure p
B
is also important. This is the pressure behind the nozzle. (Previously the back pressure p
B
was equal to
the exit pressure p
e
. Now this is not the case.) We can now consider three cases:
• If p
B
> p
e,6
, the ﬂow has expanded too much (it is overexpanded) and will decrease in size once
it exits the nozzle. This causes oblique shock waves.
• If p
B
< p
e,6
, the ﬂow hasn’t expanded enough (it is underexpanded) and will increase in size
once it exits the nozzle. Due to this, expansion waves will occur.
• If p
B
= p
e,6
, the ﬂow will just exit the nozzle without any waves.
13
During stages 3 to 6, an important phenomenon occurs. In all these stages, we have M = 1 at the throat.
From this follows that the pressure in the throat is always
p

=
p
t

1 +
γ−1
2

γ
γ−1
= 0.528p
t
. (4.3.1)
From this we can derive that the mass ﬂow in the throat is always the same during stages 3 to 6. So
although the exit pressure (or back pressure) decreases, the mass ﬂow through the nozzle stays the same.
This eﬀect is called choked ﬂow.
4.4 Wind Tunnels
Suppose we have a model of an airplane, which we want to test at supersonic velocities. What kind of
wind tunnel do we need? We can simply take a nozzle, having only one throat. If we do this, we can
get supersonic velocities. However, a huge pressure ratio p
t
/p
e
will be needed. This means expensive
equipment, which is of course undesirable.
The solution lies in a diﬀuser. A diﬀuser slows the ﬂow down, back to subsonic velocities. During this
process, the pressure increases. So in a wind tunnel we would ﬁrst have a nozzle, then our test model,
and ﬁnally a diﬀuser. To the left of the nozzle is the high pressure p
t
. At the test model is a low pressure,
but a high velocity. Finally, after the diﬀuser, there is a low velocity, but a more or less high pressure
p
e
. Although still p
e
< p
t
, the ratio p
t
/p
e
is much smaller than normal. This therefore makes supersonic
wind tunnels feasible.
Let’s take a closer look at this diﬀuser. A diﬀuser has a similar shape as a nozzle: it has a throat.
However, this time there is a supersonic ﬂow (M > 1) to the left of the throat, and a subsonic ﬂow to
the right. Once more, we have M = 1 at the throat. After the throat will be a subsonic ﬂow (M < 1).
Ideally, this would occur isentropically, without any shock waves. In reality, there are viscous eﬀects near
the edges of the diﬀuser. These viscous eﬀects eventually cause shock waves.
When designing a wind tunnel, we would like to know how big the cross-sectional area of the diﬀuser
throat should be. In the wind tunnel we will be having two throats: one in the nozzle (with cross-sectional
area A
t,1
) and one in the diﬀuser (with area A
t,2
). (Note that the subscript t now stands for throat; not
total.) These areas relate to each other, according to
A
t,2
A
t,1
=
p
t,1
p
t,2
. (4.4.1)
In an ideal (isentropic) situation we have p
t,1
= p
t,2
, so also A
t,1
= A
t,2
. In reality, however, there are
viscous eﬀects. Due to this we have p
t,1
> p
t,2
and thus also A
t,2
> A
t,1
. So the diﬀuser throat should
always be bigger than the nozzle throat.
Now what happens if A
t,2
is too small? In this case the diﬀuser will choke. It can’t handle the mass
ﬂow. This causes shock waves in the test section. This can ultimately lead to an entirely subsonic test
section. In such a case, the wind tunnel is said to be unstarted.
14
5. Subsonic Compressible Flow over Airfoils
It is time to turn theory into practice. What can we say about ﬂow over airfoils? In this chapter we
consider compressible subsonic ﬂow over airfoils. The next chapter focusses on supersonic ﬂow.
5.1 The Velocity Potential Equation
In a previous aerodynamics course we have seen the velocity potential φ. It was deﬁned such that
V = ∇φ. (5.1.1)
From the velocity potential we can ﬁnd the velocity components
u =
∂φ
∂x
and v =
∂φ
∂y
. (5.1.2)
For incompressible ﬂows (ρ is constant) we would get Laplace’s equation

2
φ
∂x
2
+

2
φ
∂y
2
= 0. (5.1.3)
This equation is a linear diﬀerential equation. There exist solutions for it. If ρ is not constant, things
are a lot more diﬃcult. Using (among others) the continuity equation and Euler’s equation, we can
eventually derive that

1 −
1
a
2

∂φ
∂x

2

2
φ
∂x
2
+

1 −
1
a
2

∂φ
∂y

2

2
φ
∂y
2

2
a
2
∂φ
∂x
∂φ
∂y

2
φ
∂x∂y
= 0. (5.1.4)
This important equation is called the velocity potential equation. Note that for incompressible ﬂows
we would have ρ constant and thus a = ∞. The above equation then reduces back to Laplace’s equation.
However, a is not inﬁnite. It also depends on the velocity potential. This is according to
a
2
= a
2
0

γ −1
2

∂φ
∂x

2
+

∂φ
∂y

2

, (5.1.5)
where a
0
is constant for the entire ﬂow.
5.2 The Linearized Velocity Potential Equation
The velocity potential is a nonlinear equation. It is therefore very hard to solve. To solve it, we have to
use assumptions, through which we can turn the above equation into a linear equation.
But before we do that, we have to introduce the perturbation velocities ˆ u and ˆ v. Let’s suppose we
are ﬂying with a free stream velocity V

in x-direction. The velocity perturbations are now deﬁned
as the change in velocity, with respect to the free stream velocity. So
ˆ u = u −V

and ˆ v = v. (5.2.1)
Identically, we can deﬁne the perturbation velocity potential
ˆ
φ such that
ˆ u =

ˆ
φ
∂x
and ˆ v =

ˆ
φ
∂y
. (5.2.2)
15
Using this perturbation velocity, we can derive a very complicated equation, similar to the velocity
potential equation. However, for certain free stream Mach numbers M

, this equation can be
simpliﬁed. If 0 ≤ M

≤ 0.8 or M

≥ 1.2, certain parts can be neglected. If also M

< 5 even more
parts can be neglected. We also have to make the assumption that the velocity perturbations ˆ u and ˆ v are
small. This is usually the case for thin bodies at small angles of attack. Based on all these assumptions,
the complicated equation reduces to

1 −M
2

2 ˆ
φ
∂x
2
+

2 ˆ
φ
∂y
2
= 0. (5.2.3)
This is the linearized perturbation velocity potential equation. It is a linear partial diﬀerential
equation. With it, the perturbation velocity potential can be found. However, when doing that, we also
need boundary conditions. There are two boundary conditions that can be used. First of all, at x = ∞,
we have ˆ u = ˆ v = 0 and thus
ˆ
φ = constant. Second, we know that if the airfoil is at an angle θ with
respect to the free stream ﬂow, then also

ˆ
φ
∂y
= ˆ v = (V

+ ˆ u) tan θ ≈ V

tan θ. (5.2.4)
So now we know how to ﬁnd
ˆ
φ. What can we do with it? Well, with it we can ﬁnd the pressure coeﬃcient.
The pressure coeﬃcient could normally be found using
C
p
=
p −p

q

=
2
γM
2

p
p

−1

. (5.2.5)
For small velocity perturbations the ratio p/p

can be approximated by
p
p

= 1 −
γ
2
M
2

2ˆ u
V

+
ˆ u
2
+ ˆ v
2
V
2

. (5.2.6)
Using this, the relation for the pressure coeﬃcient can be simpliﬁed to
C
p
= −
2ˆ u
V

. (5.2.7)
5.3 Compressibility Corrections
Instead of deriving entirely new equations for compressible ﬂows, we can also slightly change existing
equations for incompressible ﬂows, such that they approximate compressible ﬂows. Such adjustments are
called compressibility corrections.
The ﬁrst compressibility correction is the Prandtl-Glauert correction. It stated that the pressure
coeﬃcient C
p
in a compressible ﬂow can be derived from the pressure coeﬃcient C
p,0
in an incompressible
ﬂow, according to
C
p
=
C
p,0

1 −M
2

. (5.3.1)
The lift coeﬃcient and moment coeﬃcient for compressible ﬂow can be derived similarly, using
c
l
=
c
l,0

1 −M
2

and c
m
=
c
m,0

1 −M
2

. (5.3.2)
The Prandtl-Glauert rule is based on the linearized velocity potential equation. Other compressibility
corrections do take the nonlinear terms into account. Examples are the Karman-Tsien rule, which
states that
C
p
=
C
p,0

1 −M
2

+
M
2

1+

1−M
2

Cp,0
2
, (5.3.3)
16
and Laitone’s rule, stating that
C
p
=
C
p,0

1 −M
2

+ M
2

1 +
γ−1
2
M
2

1 −M
2

Cp,0
2
. (5.3.4)
5.4 The Critical Mach Number
The ﬂow velocity is diﬀerent on diﬀerent positions on the wing. Let’s say we know the Mach number M
A
of the ﬂow over our wing at a given point A. The corresponding pressure coeﬃcient can then be found
using
C
p,A
=
2
γM
2

¸

1 +
γ−1
2
M
2

1 +
γ−1
2
M
2
A

γ
γ−1
−1
¸

. (5.4.1)
The velocity of the ﬂow on top of our wing is generally bigger than the free stream velocity V

. So we
may have sonic ﬂow (M = 1) over our wing, while we are still ﬂying at M

< 1. The critical Mach
number M
cr
is deﬁned as the free stream Mach number M

at which sonic ﬂow (M = 1) is ﬁrst achieved
on the airfoil surface. It is a very important value. To ﬁnd it, we use the critical pressure coeﬃcient
C
p,cr
. The relation between M
cr
and C
p,cr
can be found from the above equation. This relation is
C
p,cr
=
2
γM
2
cr

¸

1 +
γ−1
2
M
2
cr
1 +
γ−1
2

γ
γ−1
−1
¸

. (5.4.2)
However, the above equation has two unknowns. So we need an additional equation. We can use any of
the compressibility corrections for that. But, to do that, we ﬁrst need to know C
p,0
. This can be found
using low-speed wind tunnel tests. Just measure the minimal pressure coeﬃcient over the entire wing.
This is the position of minimum pressure and thus maximum velocity. So once C
p,0
is known, we have
two equations with two unknowns. It can be solved.
5.5 The Increase in Drag
You may wonder, why is the critical Mach number so important? We can see that if we plot the drag
coeﬃcient c
d
with respect to the free stream Mach number M

. Initially c
d
has the constant value of
c
d,0
. However, when M

gets bigger than M
cr
, shock waves will appear. This causes additional drag.
So the critical Mach number relates to the velocity at which the drag increases.
At a certain free stream Mach number the drag coeﬃcient suddenly starts to increase enormously. The
Mach number at which this occurs (which is often slightly bigger than M
cr
) is called the drag-divergence
Mach number. However, once we have passed M

= 1, the drag coeﬃcient c
d
decreases. We have then
passed the so-called sound barrier.
Normally, the drag coeﬃcient can get as big as ten times c
d,0
. There are, however, ways to prevent this.
One way is the so-called area rule. It seems that sudden changes in the cross-sectional area of a wing
cause a high drag coeﬃcient at the sonic region. So, the cross-sectional area of an airplane should be as
constant as possible. At the positions of the wings, the cross-section of the aircraft usually increases. To
prevent this, the cross-section of the fuselage at those points should decrease. This can reduce the drag
coeﬃcient at M = 1 by an entire factor 2.
Another way of reducing the drag around M = 1 is by using supercritical airfoils. The idea behind
this is not to increase the critical Mach number M
cr
. Instead, it is to increase the drag-divergence Mach
number. This is done by making the top of the airfoil as ﬂat as possible. By doing this, airplanes can ﬂy
at higher velocities, without experiencing the massive increase in drag just yet.
17
6. Supersonic Flow over Airfoils
In the previous chapter we treated subsonic ﬂow over airfoils. In this ﬁnal chapter we will take a look at
supersonic ﬂow. How do airfoils behave at M > 1?
6.1 The Linearized Supersonic Pressure Coeﬃcient Equation
In the previous chapter, we derived the linear perturbation velocity potential equation. If we deﬁne
λ =

M
2

−1, we can rewrite it to
λ
2

2 ˆ
φ
∂x
2

2 ˆ
φ
∂y
2
= 0. (6.1.1)
Any function
ˆ
φ = f(x −λy) satisﬁes this equation. So it initially may not seem helpful. However, we do
know that if x −λy = constant, also
ˆ
φ stays constant. Also, x −λy is constant, if
dy
dx
=
1
λ
=
1

M
2

−1
= tan µ, (6.1.2)
where µ is the Mach angle, which was introduced in the chapter on oblique shock waves. So we ﬁnd
that
ˆ
φ is constant along a Mach line.
From the fact that
ˆ
φ = f(x−λy), we can also derive another important relation. From this follows that,
for a certain position on the wing with angle θ, we have
ˆ u = −
V

θ
λ
. (6.1.3)
The pressure coeﬃcient can now be found using
C
p
= −
2ˆ u
V

=

M
2

−1
. (6.1.4)
This important equation is called the linearized supersonic pressure coeﬃcient equation. It is a
rather simple way to ﬁnd C
p
. The sign of θ, and thus also of C
p
can, however, be rather tricky. Luckily
you only have to remember one important thing. If the surface of the airfoil is inclined into the free
stream, there is a relatively high pressure, and C
p
is thus positive. On the other hand, if the surface is
inclined away from the free stream, the pressure is relatively low, and C
p
is thus negative.
6.2 Lift and Drag Coeﬃcients of a Flat Plate
Let’s give an example of how to use the relation that was just derived. Let’s calculate the lift and drag
coeﬃcient of a ﬂat plate at an angle of attack α in a supersonic ﬂow. The pressure coeﬃcients at the
lower and upper side of the plate, C
p,l
and C
p,u
, respectively, are given by
C
p,l
=

M
2

−1
and C
p,u
= −

M
2

−1
. (6.2.1)
The component of the force acting normal to the plate c
n
can now be found using
c
n
=
1
c

c
0
(C
p,l
−C
p,u
) dx =

M
2

−1
. (6.2.2)
18
Since the plate has no thickness, there is no component of the force acting parallel to the plate. So we
have
c
l
= c
n
cos α and c
d
= c
n
sin α. (6.2.3)
Using cos α ≈ 1 and sin α ≈ α we eventually get
c
l
=

M
2

−1
and c
n
=

2

M
2

−1
. (6.2.4)
These equations are only valid for ﬂat plates at small angles of attack. Supersonic airplanes, however,
usually have relatively ﬂat wings, and also ﬂy at low angles of attack. So the above equations can often
also be applied for the wings of supersonic aircrafts. Isn’t it surprising that such simple equations can
say so much about such complicated aircrafts?
19

T1 p1 T1 v1 (1. If we increase the pressure on it.3) We can combine the above relations with the equation of state and the relations for de and dh. then δq = 0 and thus also ds ≥ 0.) Now let’s try to derive an equation for the entropy. To erase these eﬀects. (1.3. Using this fact.1) v dp However.3) This equation helps us to judge whether a ﬂow is compressible. The second law of thermodynamics states that ds ≥ δq .3. Furthermore.3 The Second Law of Thermodynamics It is time to deﬁne the entropy s of a system. (1. respectively. In an equation. s (1.4) For isentropic processes we have ds = 0 and thus s2 − s1 = 0.3. we can ﬁnd that p2 = p1 ρ2 ρ1 γ = T2 T1 γ γ−1 . For a reversible process it can be shown that δw = −p dv. then ds = 0. Doing this will eventually result in s2 − s1 = cp ln p2 T2 v2 T2 − R ln = cv ln + R ln . (1.1.3.4 Compressibility Let’s consider some substance. and the ﬂow is thus compressible.4. we deﬁne the isothermal compressibility τT and the isentropic compressibility τs as the compressibility at isothermal and isentropic processes. its volume will decrease.3. this becomes τT = − 1 v ∂v ∂p and T τs = − 1 v ∂v ∂p .5) 1. so also dρ is small. If the density varies. T (1. (1. Also we have δq = T ds.4.2) If the process is both reversible and adiabatic.1) where there is only equality for reversible processes. 2 . then the ﬂow is compressible.2) But how can we use this? Using v = 1/ρ we can derive that dρ = ρτ dp. For low-speed ﬂows dp is small. The ﬂow is thus incompressible. For high-speed ﬂows the pressure will change a lot more. A ﬂow is incompressible when the density stays (more or less) constant throughout the process. The entropy is thus constant for isentropic processes. From this we can ﬁnd that T ds = de + p dv = dh − v dp. (1. We do this using the ﬁrst law of thermodynamics. if the process is adiabatic. (This also explains why these processes were named isentropic.4. Therefore dρ is not small anymore. when the pressure is increased often also the temperature and the entropy increase. We can now deﬁne the compressibility τ as 1 dv τ =− .

We can also measure the density ρ. it can be shown that the quantity h + V 2 /2 stays constant along a streamline. 3 . and thus isentropic. In this case. it turns out that the total pressure pt and the total density ρt also stay constant along a streamline. the temperature T . All these quantities are static quantities. pressure and density of the ﬂow now change. If we move along with the ﬂow. in a steady adiabatic inviscid ﬂow. The new value of the temperature is deﬁned as the total temperature Tt . We therefore have ht = h + V2 = constant. The corresponding total enthalpy is ht = cp Tt . Now let’s suppose we slow down the ﬂow adiabatically to V = 0. 2 (1.5. We can expand this idea even further. Keep in mind that this only holds for adiabatic ﬂows. Using a rather lengthy derivation.1. and so on. we can measure a certain static pressure p.1) For a calorically perfect gas (with constant cp ) we also have Tt = ht /cp = constant. if the ﬂow is also reversible. The temperature. the Mach number M .5 Stagnation Conditions Let’s consider a ﬂow with velocity V .

3. Do you still remember the compressibility we introduced in the previous chapter? From the equation dρ = ρτ dp. making it an isentropic ﬂow.4) 5 .2. dissipative phenomena (like viscosity and thermal conduction) can be neglected.2. we can also state that p2 = p1 + dp. So we can solve everything. was it? We now have 5 unknowns and 5 equations. we can also ﬁnd that p0 = p γ−1 2 1+ M 2 γ γ−1 The Mach number M is deﬁned as . For isentropic processes we have γp ∂p . (2.2. it is an inﬁnitesimally weak normal shock wave.3.4) ρτs Note that we have used the isentropic compressibility because the process is isentropic.p = ρRT. 2. the speed of sound only depends on the temperature. So we see that the lower the compressibility of a substance. the faster sound travels in it.3.3 The Mach Number M= u . Because of this.2) = p = cργ ⇒ ∂ρ s ρ This results in a= γp = ρ γRT . Let’s recall the total temperature T0 . This can be found using u2 cp T0 = cp T + . ρ2 = ρ1 + dρ and a2 = a1 + da.5) That wasn’t much new.3. (2.3) T 2 Using the isentropic ﬂow relations. (2.1) a2 = dρ ∂ρ s The last part in the above equation is to indicate that the changes in p and ρ occur isentropically.1.2. (2. (2. If we combine these facts with the three equations we derived in the previous paragraph. 2. Note that a = u1 . (2. At what velocity does this shock wave travel? Let’s call this velocity the speed of sound a.2) 2 From this we can derive that T0 γ−1 2 =1+ M . (2. (2. we eventually ﬁnd that ∂p dp = . for a given medium. So apparently. Because the shock wave is very weak.3) where we used the equation of state in the last part. (2.2 The Speed of Sound A special kind of normal shock wave is a sound wave. we can also derive that 1 a= .1) a A lot of properties can be derived from the Mach number. In fact.

we can also determine that a2 u2 a∗2 a∗2 γ + 1 ∗2 + = + = a = constant. we can also look at the temperature T ∗ . using 6 .3.4 Sonic Conditions When you slow an airﬂow down adiabatically to u = 0 (and thus M = 0) you ﬁnd the total temperature Tt .5) we ﬁnd that γ 1 γ+1 p0 γ + 1 γ−1 ρ0 γ + 1 γ−1 T0 = . But this seems rather odd.1) 2 2 + (γ − 1) M1 .3) to (2. 2. Shock waves are thus only present in supersonic ﬂows. pressure p∗ and density ρ∗ at such conditions. and vice verse.ρ0 = ρ From equation (2.6) 2. By inserting M = 1 in equations (2. a∗ (2. We start with the Prandtl relation. called a Mach wave. Suddenly a subsonic ﬂow becomes supersonic! A more detailed look would show that in this case also the entropy s would decrease. Similarly. What can we conclude from this? It means that in subsonic ﬂows no shock waves can appear.1) γ−1 2 γ−1 2 2 (γ − 1) Just like we can examine the speed of sound at sonic conditions.4. (2. and so on.4) The parameters M and M ∗ are quite similar.4. (2.2) T∗ 2 p∗ 2 ρ∗ 2 Finally we can deﬁne the characteristic Mach number M ∗ as M∗ = u .2) This is an important relation. so is the other.3. We will discuss some of them.5. However. we can change the velocity of a ﬂow adiabatically such that M = 1. 2 2γM1 − (γ − 1) (2. according to M2 = 2M ∗2 (γ + 1) − (γ − 1) M ∗2 ⇔ M ∗2 = (γ + 1) M 2 .3) We can ﬁnd that M and M ∗ are related. But the second law of thermodynamics states that the entropy can only increase.4. If M1 = 1.5. (2. If M1 > 1 we have M2 < 1.5) a2 u2 a2 0 + = = constant. total pressure pt . total density ρt . If one is bigger than 1.4. if M1 < 1 it would seem that M2 > 1.3.5 Normal Shock Wave Relations There are several other relations that hold for normal shock waves. stating that a∗2 = u1 u2 From this follows that 2 M2 = ⇔ ∗ ∗ 1 = M1 M2 . But can we also ﬁnd the other properties behind the shock wave? It turns out that we can. γ−1 2 γ−1 (2.) However. (If this is the case we are dealing with an inﬁnitely weak shock wave. then also M2 = 1. = and = .3.2) we can also derive that 1+ γ−1 2 M 2 1 γ−1 . (2. Now we know how to ﬁnd M2 .3. 2 + (γ − 1) M 2 (2. The corresponding temperature at sonic conditions is denoted by T ∗ . The √ characteristic speed of sound a∗ can now be found using a∗ = γRT ∗ .

6.5. we can simply use the relation pt = p γ−1 2 1+ M 2 γ γ−1 . This time we need to use the relation pt. we also need to know the speed of sound. pt. the properties of the ﬂow change drastically.6) So what can we derive from all the above equations? When passing through a shock wave.3) This equation is called the Rayleigh Pitot tube formula.6 Measuring the Velocity When an aircraft is ﬂying.2 pt.5. Since a shockwave is an adiabatic process we know that h1 = h2 and thus also Tt. since there is a shock wave. it would be nice to know how fast it is going. temperature and density increase. The total temperature and the enthalpy stay constant.2 = e− R . To ﬁnd the velocity during a subsonic ﬂight.1) Solving for M 2 and using u2 = M 2 a2 we ﬁnd that 2a2 u = γ−1 2 pt p γ−1 γ −1 . 7 . γ+1 (2. Finally.5) It would also be interesting to know how the total temperature Tt and the total pressure pt change across the shock wave. measuring the total pressure pt . (2.2 ρ2 u1 (γ + 1) M1 = = 2.3) (2. The static pressure that was known is now called p1 .4) 2 2 + (γ − 1) M1 2 (γ + 1) M1 p2 2γ 2 =1+ M1 − 1 .5. But if we know that. To ﬁnd the velocity during a supersonic ﬂight is a bit more diﬃcult.6. (2. From this equation the Mach number can be solved. it’s easy to ﬁnd the velocity. using the relation for entropy we can ﬁnd that s2 −s1 pt.2 p2 = = p1 p2 p 1 2 (γ + 1) M1 2 4γM1 − 2 (γ − 1) 2 γ γ−1 2 (1 − γ) + 2γM1 . To ﬁnd this out.2) So to ﬁnd the velocity. This time the Pitot tube measures the total pressure behind the shock wave pt.1 (2.2 /p2 .1 = Tt. The pressure.5.6. (2. We also assume that the static pressure p is known. 2. a Pitot tube is used. ρ1 u2 2 + (γ − 1) M1 (2. In its derivation we used the normal shock wave relations for the ratio p2 /p1 . Then only the speed of sound is still needed to ﬁnd the ﬂight velocity u. while the total pressure and the Mach number decrease.2 . We used the relation for total pressure in an isentropic ﬂow for the ratio pt.2 . p1 γ+1 h2 p 2 ρ1 T2 = = = T1 h1 p 1 ρ2 1+ 2γ 2 M1 − 1 γ+1 .

ﬂies at a supersonic speed (V > a). 3. the disturbances can move upstream. In fact. Figure 3.3. For shock waves we always have β > µ. called the wave angle. only theoretical. In practice the shock wave doesn’t have an angle µ but an angle β. We would like to know what causes them. forming a so-called Mach wave. the disturbances can not.1 visualizes these disturbances for an airplane traveling from point A to point B. But before we can do that. Oblique Shock Waves In reality normal shock waves don’t often occur.2: Properties of the oblique shock wave.1: Visualization of the disturbances in a ﬂow. they all stay within a cone and stack up at the edge. This cone has an angle µ.2 Oblique Shock Wave Relations We will try to derive some relations for oblique shock waves. Oblique shock waves are more common. So a normal shock wave is just a special case of the oblique shock wave. at which we once more have a normal shock wave. it creates disturbances in the ﬂow. Figure 3. however.1) The above relation is. These disturbance spread around with the speed of sound a.1 Shock Wave Angles When an aircraft is ﬂying.1. 3. Vt V M (3. When the airplane ﬂies at a subsonic velocity (V < a). Figure 3. 8 . and how we can calculate ﬂow properties around them. Finally there is the special case with β = 90◦ . where µ is called the Mach angle. If the airplane.1 it can be derived that sin µ = at a 1 = = . we need to make some deﬁnitions. From ﬁgure 3. however.

2.1 and the Mach number tangential to the shock wave Mt. We can then ﬁnd the corresponding values of the wave angle β.3 The Deﬂection Angle There is one last variable for which we can derive an equation.1 2 (γ + 1) Mn.1 .2. This angle is usually determined by the shape of the object causing the shock waves.1 − 1 γ+1 2 2 + (γ − 1) Mn.2) u2 u2 1 = h2 + 2 . Let’s suppose we know θ and M1 .2. Instead of using the total velocity. we can derive some relations. We can ﬁnd that tan θ = 2 2 M1 sin2 β − 1 .6) 2 (γ + 1) Mn.1 − 1 . the momentum equation and the energy equation. For relatively low values of θ you will ﬁnd two solutions for β. The 9 . being Mn. However. Corresponding are the Mach number normal to the shock wave Mn. (3. Using the variables described above. In the previous chapter we now continued to express ratios like p2 /p1 as a function of the Mach number. We can do the same again. (3.2. We then get ρ1 u1 = ρ2 u2 . sin (β − θ) (3.1) p 1 + ρ1 u 2 = p 2 + ρ2 u 2 . Many important things can be derived from it. 2 tan β M1 (γ + cos (2β)) + 2 (3. using the momentum equation.2.2. (3.5) Going through a lot of derivations.2 = 2 2 + (γ − 1) Mn.2. That variable is the deﬂection angle θ. It turns out that these relations are virtually the same as for a normal shock wave. The only diﬀerence is that we now need to take the component of the Mach number normal to the ﬂow. ρ1 u2 2 + (γ − 1) Mn.We know that the velocity V1 before the shock wave is directed horizontally.7) (3. All the properties have been visualized in ﬁgure 3. (3. Also note the deﬂection angle θ.1 2 2γMn.8) . There’s only one fundamental diﬀerence.1 ρ2 u1 = = 2 . We examine two components of this velocity: The component normal to the shock wave u1 and the component tangential to the shock wave w1 . =1+ p1 γ+1 T2 p 2 ρ1 = = T1 p 1 ρ2 1+ 2γ 2 Mn. 3.3. we only need to consider the component of the velocity normal to the shock wave (being u). We can do the same for the velocities after the shock wave (but now with subscript 2).2. this time we express everything in the component of the Mach number normal to the ﬂow. There are thus two possible shock waves.2.2 .1 − (γ − 1) with M2 = Mn.1 (3. we can ﬁnd that 2 Mn.1) This equation is called the θ-β-M relation.1 We can once more see that these equations are virtually the same as for a normal shock wave.4) So now we have used the continuity equation.9) p2 2γ 2 Mn. (3. 1 2 h1 + (3.2. we can derive the simple relation w1 = w2 .1 = M1 sin β.3) 2 2 But what about the tangential component of the velocity w? Well.

Performing calculations on a blunt shock wave is very diﬃcult. If θ gets even bigger. As we continue our travel along the shock wave. the weak shock wave is almost always present.shock wave with the higher angle of β is called the strong shock wave. we look at the ﬂow after the shock wave. To see why. the wave angle β is 90◦ . We will brieﬂy examine the detached shock wave later in this chapter. the shock wave loses strength. This line is called the slip line. each with diﬀerent wave angles βC and βD . we won’t get an (attached) oblique shock wave. 10 . Using these two boundary conditions the wave angles βC and βD can be determined. By combining this new Mach number with the deﬂection angle θ. after the two new waves. So an oblique shock wave is not possible then. Now let’s look at another situation: the case where two shock waves A and B intersect each other. we will get a detached shock wave. it needs to be deﬂected the other way. after which it once more starts to decrease. It’s not longer able to slow down the ﬂow to subsonic velocities. the new wave angle β2 can be found. So the second shock wave will have a wave angle β2 . What information can we use to determine these wave angles? Experiments have shown that. In between these two ﬂows is the so-called slip line. the shock wave will continue to lose strength. After the ﬁrst shock wave (and before the second). Instead. So the Mach number behind the shock wave M2 will be above 1. This is. the deﬂection angle θ initially increases. But what happens if θ gets bigger? Soon θ will reach a maximum value θmax . the shock wave will detach and get a curved shape. As we go further from the shock wave. In nature. We will examine a few.2 . the ﬂow had a Mach number M1 . As β decreases. not true. there will be a new shock wave. So usually the smallest of the two solutions can simply be used. we need to look at the Mach numbers. So we have a normal shock wave there. the wave angle β decreases.4 Multiple Shock Waves There are many cases in which multiple shock waves occur. by the same angle θ. when θ = 0 again. the ﬂows from both waves travel in the same direction. So the ﬁnal directions of both ﬂows are the same. because there is a straight line between the two ﬂows. At the front of the shock wave. however. two new shock waves C and D will appear. To accomplish this. because the two ﬂows ”slip” with respect to each other – they usually have a diﬀerent velocity. its strength will have disappeared entirely. Not much after we reached θmax . Instead. Behind this shock wave. their pressures must be equal as well. no solutions exist anymore. What happens to this shock wave? To answer this question. 3. As we go even further away from our blunt body. At the point of intersection.2 = pD. the ﬂow is subsonic. Eventually. Before the ﬁrst shock wave. So pC. we ﬁnd the sonic line. the ﬂow has a lower Mach number M2 . It is therefore not part of this course.5 The Detached Shock Wave If we put a rather blunt body in a supersonic ﬂow. Since the ﬂow can’t go through the wall. 3. colliding with a wall parallel to the free stream. while the one with the lower angle is called the weak shock wave. This ﬂow has been deﬂected towards the wall by an angle θ. At this line the Mach number of the ﬂow behind the shock wave is M2 = 1. It soon reaches its maximum. First let’s consider a single shock wave with wave angle β1 . At this point there is only one solution for β. However. You may initially think that this new shock wave has the same wave angle β1 . The properties of this shock wave vary along the shock wave.

γ γ−1 (3. From this we can derive that 2 T2 2 + (γ − 1) M1 (3. We then get an expansion wave.6) = 2. we ﬁrst use M1 to ﬁnd ν(M1 ). While the airﬂow changes direction. (3. so the entropy s stays constant.6. the airﬂow ”bends” around the wall edge.3. In general we can say that M2 > M1 . being θ = ν(M2 ) − ν(M1 ).4) 2 M 2 + (γ − 1) M γ−1 γ+1 Using this function. (3. 11 . but it can be solved. Therefore also Tt and pt stay constant. which suddenly makes an angle θ away from the ﬂow.8) In a shock wave the pressure. we ﬁrst have to rewrite dV /V to dM 2 dV = . we can ﬁnd that θ is equal to M2 θ= M1 √ 2 M 2 − 1 dM . How do we ﬁnd M2 then? Well.6.5) However.6 Expansion Waves Suppose we have an airﬂow moving along a wall. we usually don’t need to calculate θ.7) = .6. its velocity also changes. deﬁned as √ γ+1 γ−1 2 M 2 − 1 dM ν(M ) = = arctan (M 2 − 1) − arctan M 2 − 1 . (3. it has gotten its own symbol and name. We then add this result up to θ to ﬁnd ν(M2 ). Usually we know θ and M1 and we need to know M2 .6. In this expansion wave.6. density and temperature increase.6. we can derive an expression for θ. From this we can derive M2 (often using tables). 2 + (γ − 1) M 2 M (3. (3.6. T1 2 + (γ − 1) M2 ρ2 = ρ1 p2 = p1 T2 T1 T2 T1 1 γ−1 = γ γ−1 2 2 + (γ − 1) M1 2 2 + (γ − 1) M2 2 2 + (γ − 1) M1 2 2 + (γ − 1) M2 1 γ−1 . This happens according to dθ = M2 − 1 dV . Because of its importance. How do the various ﬂow properties behave during expansion waves? It can be shown that the ﬂow is isentropic.1) Now how can we ﬁnd the Mach number after the expansion wave? For that. In an expansion wave it is exactly opposite: they all decrease. V (3.2) V 2 + (γ − 1) M 2 M Using this.3) The integral is kind of complex.6. This integral is named the Prandtl-Meyer function ν(M ).

we simply consider two points. if the area gets smaller. So we would then have p2 = p1 + dp. Why is this? And how does this shape eﬀect the ﬂow? We will try to ﬁnd that out. However.2. It states that dA du = M2 − 1 . the ﬂow also goes in the y and z-direction. Using the above equations. the counterintuitive part comes when M > 1. as we will see in the coming paragraph. (4.3) 2 2 There aren’t many surprises in the ﬁrst and third of these equations. Velocity and Mach Number We can extensively rewrite and combine the equations we just found. (4. 4. we can derive new equations for the ﬂow through wind tunnels. they must have a characteristic shape. Flow Through Wind Tunnels To be able to test with supersonic ﬂows. h1 + Of course having an integral in an equation isn’t convenient. To reach a supersonic ﬂow.6) The middle one of these three equations (the one derived from the momentum equation) is called Euler’s equation. ρ u A dp = −ρu du. if we assume that the cross-section changes only very gradually. The ﬂow in it is not entirely one-dimensional.1. then these components are small with respect to the x-direction. ρ.1.4) (4. and so on. Filling this in. ρ2 = ρ1 + dρ. and working it all out. What equations hold for such a ﬂow? From the general continuity.1 Basic Equations Let’s consider a wind tunnel. (4.1. But in the middle one is an integral! This is because the walls of the wind tunnel aren’t horizontal. To prevent that. If the cross-sectional area gets bigger (dA > 0). then the velocity decreases (du < 0).2 Area. we can derive another important relation. This is rather intuitive. 4. we would get dρ du dA + + = 0. We would then approximately have a one-dimensional ﬂow: a so-called quasi-one-dimensional ﬂow.5) (4. wind tunnels are used.1) A2 p1 A1 + ρ1 u2 A1 + 1 A1 p dA = p2 A2 + ρ2 u2 A2 . 2 (4. called the area-velocity relation.1) Now what does this equation tell us? First let’s suppose that M < 1.4. As the cross-section changes. They can thus also exert a pressure force in x-direction on the ﬂow. By doing so. momentum and energy equation we can derive that ρ1 u1 A1 = ρ2 u2 A2 . In this ﬂow all parameters p. the velocity increases. Also. dh + u du = 0. However.1. u and also A only depend on x.1.2) u2 u2 1 = h2 + 2 .1. with an inﬁnitely small distance dx between them. Now things are exactly 12 . A u (4.

we reach stage 6. The pressure drop in the normal shock wave should be such that. • If pB = pe. But how? To ﬁnd that out. To check how the ﬂow behaves. (4. we can derive that A A∗ 2 1 = 2 M 2 γ+1 γ−1 2 1+ M 2 γ+1 γ−1 . Not much special is going on. In fact. the ﬂow doesn’t always reach supersonic velocities. In the ﬁrst stage. 13 .6 . expansion waves will occur. the position of the normal shock wave changes. In the second stage. A special case occurs if M = 1. If this is true. Similarly. at the exit. This continues until we reach stage 5. However. This causes the ﬂow to move. the ﬂow will just exit the nozzle without any waves.3 /pt is suﬃciently small to cause a sonic ﬂow in the throat. This causes oblique shock waves.6 . if the wind tunnel decreases in size.3 Flow in a Nozzle Let’s examine a nozzle. We can consider three parts in it. To the left is a reservoir of air. (Previously the back pressure pB was equal to the exit pressure pe . the ﬂow has expanded too much (it is overexpanded) and will decrease in size once it exits the nozzle. then the velocity also increases. If we decrease the exit pressure further. but only slowly. Note that the ﬂow properties at this point are the ﬂow properties at sonic conditions. A supersonic ﬂow now exits the nozzle. then the ﬂow also reduces its velocity. the ﬂow hasn’t expanded enough (it is underexpanded) and will increase in size once it exits the nozzle. the ratio pe. So at the throat ﬁnally M = 1.2) where A∗ is the cross-sectional area at the throat. you have to look at the pressure.opposite. The velocity is therefore very low. So we would have a pressure p∗ . While doing that. It ﬂows because pe < pt . In the middle of the nozzle is the throat. with exit pressure pe and exit temperature Te . In stage three. Now this is not the case. It shows that the Mach number only depends on the ratio A/A∗ . the pressure diﬀerence isn’t big enough to continue this supersonic ﬂow. now the back pressure pB is also important. To the right of that. it moves to the right. So we have found that the cross-sectional area A and the Mach number M are linked. (Note that if we ﬁll in M = 1 we would get A = A∗ . Eventually there is an exit. the ratio pe.6 . the tunnel gets wider again. This pressure diﬀerence causes the air to move. In this stage. the exit pressure pe. The pressure and temperature at this point are thus equal to the total pressure pt and the total temperature Tt . However. In this case the exit pressure is always a ﬁxed value pe. However. after the throat the ﬂow becomes subsonic again.6 . we can consider 6 stages. However. At this point the cross-sectional area A is very big. If the area gets bigger.) This important equation is called the area-Mach number relation. slowing the ﬂow down to subsonic velocities. So a normal shock wave appears.4 is reached. This is the pressure behind the nozzle. which we denoted with a star (∗ ). then we must have dA = 0. a density ρ∗ and a ﬂow velocity u∗ = a∗ .2 /pt becomes smaller. In stage 5 the normal shock wave is at the exit of the nozzle. the ﬂow remains subsonic. the ﬂow becomes supersonic after the throat.2. So a sonic ﬂow can only occur when the cross-section is at a minimum (at a so-called throat). Now what happens if we decrease the exit pressure even further? We then reach stage four. • If pB < pe.) We can now consider three cases: • If pB > pe. we need to examine the ratio pe /pt . 4. If we decrease the exit pressure just a little bit further. Flow doesn’t go through the nozzle spontaneously. To know where the shock wave appears.1 /pt ≈ 1. However. the ratio pe. Due to this.

and a subsonic ﬂow to the right. (Note that the subscript t now stands for throat. we would like to know how big the cross-sectional area of the diﬀuser throat should be. This means expensive equipment. The solution lies in a diﬀuser. In reality.2 and thus also At. we can get supersonic velocities.1 > pt. there are viscous eﬀects.2 (4.1 At. there are viscous eﬀects near the edges of the diﬀuser. without any shock waves. back to subsonic velocities. which we want to test at supersonic velocities. 4. (4. At the test model is a low pressure. So although the exit pressure (or back pressure) decreases. So in a wind tunnel we would ﬁrst have a nozzle. however.During stages 3 to 6. Once more.1) From this we can derive that the mass ﬂow in the throat is always the same during stages 3 to 6.1 = pt.1 = At. A diﬀuser slows the ﬂow down. an important phenomenon occurs. This causes shock waves in the test section. During this process. 14 . However. the mass ﬂow through the nozzle stays the same.1) In an ideal (isentropic) situation we have pt. this would occur isentropically. the pressure increases. In such a case. When designing a wind tunnel. To the left of the nozzle is the high pressure pt . so also At. In the wind tunnel we will be having two throats: one in the nozzle (with cross-sectional area At. we have M = 1 at the throat. In all these stages. and ﬁnally a diﬀuser.2 ). according to pt. Now what happens if At.1 pt. In reality. A diﬀuser has a similar shape as a nozzle: it has a throat. then our test model. This therefore makes supersonic wind tunnels feasible. From this follows that the pressure in the throat is always p∗ = 1+ pt γ−1 2 γ γ−1 = 0.3.528pt .2 > At. there is a low velocity.2 = . Although still pe < pt . after the diﬀuser.2 is too small? In this case the diﬀuser will choke. a huge pressure ratio pt /pe will be needed.2 . this time there is a supersonic ﬂow (M > 1) to the left of the throat. Due to this we have pt. This can ultimately lead to an entirely subsonic test section. At. If we do this.4. So the diﬀuser throat should always be bigger than the nozzle throat. Ideally. but a more or less high pressure pe . not total. It can’t handle the mass ﬂow. After the throat will be a subsonic ﬂow (M < 1).) These areas relate to each other.1 . the wind tunnel is said to be unstarted. This eﬀect is called choked ﬂow. However.4 Wind Tunnels Suppose we have a model of an airplane. but a high velocity. we have M = 1 at the throat. the ratio pt /pe is much smaller than normal. What kind of wind tunnel do we need? We can simply take a nozzle. These viscous eﬀects eventually cause shock waves. Finally.1 ) and one in the diﬀuser (with area At. having only one throat.2 . Let’s take a closer look at this diﬀuser. which is of course undesirable.

∂y (5. we can eventually derive that 1− 1 a2 ∂φ ∂x 2 ∂2φ + ∂x2 1− 1 a2 ∂φ ∂y 2 2 ∂φ ∂φ ∂ 2 φ ∂2φ − 2 = 0.2) .3) This equation is a linear diﬀerential equation. Subsonic Compressible Flow over Airfoils It is time to turn theory into practice.2 The Linearized Velocity Potential Equation The velocity potential is a nonlinear equation. (5. with respect to the free stream velocity. The velocity perturbations are now deﬁned as the change in velocity. However.5) 5. we can deﬁne the perturbation velocity potential φ such that u= ˆ ˆ ∂φ ∂x and 15 v= ˆ ˆ ∂φ .1.5.1) From the velocity potential we can ﬁnd the velocity components u= ∂φ ∂x and v= ∂φ . 5.1. There exist solutions for it. So u = u − V∞ ˆ and v = v.1 The Velocity Potential Equation In a previous aerodynamics course we have seen the velocity potential φ. 2 ∂y a ∂x ∂y ∂x ∂y (5. Using (among others) the continuity equation and Euler’s equation. we have to introduce the perturbation velocities u and v . What can we say about ﬂow over airfoils? In this chapter we consider compressible subsonic ﬂow over airfoils.2) For incompressible ﬂows (ρ is constant) we would get Laplace’s equation ∂2φ ∂2φ + 2 = 0. It was deﬁned such that V= φ. a is not inﬁnite. To solve it. Note that for incompressible ﬂows we would have ρ constant and thus a = ∞.1. we have to use assumptions. But before we do that. If ρ is not constant. This is according to a2 = a2 − 0 where a0 is constant for the entire ﬂow. The next chapter focusses on supersonic ﬂow. Let’s suppose we ˆ ˆ are ﬂying with a free stream velocity V∞ in x-direction. It also depends on the velocity potential. things are a lot more diﬃcult. ∂x2 ∂y (5. ∂y (5.1) ˆ Identically.2. It is therefore very hard to solve.2.1. (5. The above equation then reduces back to Laplace’s equation. through which we can turn the above equation into a linear equation.4) This important equation is called the velocity potential equation. γ−1 2 ∂φ ∂x 2 + ∂φ ∂y 2 . ˆ (5.1.

With it. First of all. ˆ ˆ ∂y (5. What can we do with it? Well. when doing that.2.0 cl = and cm = . we can derive a very complicated equation.0 .2. If 0 ≤ M∞ ≤ 0. the perturbation velocity potential can be found.3. Examples are the Karman-Tsien rule. certain parts can be neglected.7) 5. However.2) The Prandtl-Glauert rule is based on the linearized velocity potential equation. such that they approximate compressible ﬂows.Using this perturbation velocity. p∞ (5.0 1 − M∞ 2 1+ 1−M∞ 16 . Based on all these assumptions. There are two boundary conditions that can be used. Other compressibility corrections do take the nonlinear terms into account.0 cm. which states that Cp.6) Using this.5) For small velocity perturbations the ratio p/p∞ can be approximated by γ 2 p = 1 − M∞ p∞ 2 u2 + v 2 ˆ ˆ 2ˆ u + 2 V∞ V∞ 2ˆ u . we know that if the airfoil is at an angle θ with ˆ ˆ respect to the free stream ﬂow.0 in an incompressible ﬂow. However.0 Cp = . the complicated equation reduces to 2 1 − M∞ ˆ ˆ ∂2φ ∂2φ + 2 = 0. (5. (5.2. ˆ we have u = v = 0 and thus φ = constant. It stated that the pressure coeﬃcient Cp in a compressible ﬂow can be derived from the pressure coeﬃcient Cp.3 Compressibility Corrections Instead of deriving entirely new equations for compressible ﬂows. V∞ . for certain free stream Mach numbers M∞ .4) ˆ So now we know how to ﬁnd φ. The ﬁrst compressibility correction is the Prandtl-Glauert correction. at x = ∞.3) This is the linearized perturbation velocity potential equation. similar to the velocity potential equation.3. we can also slightly change existing equations for incompressible ﬂows. according to Cp.3. We also have to make the assumption that the velocity perturbations u and v are ˆ ˆ small.2.2.2. the relation for the pressure coeﬃcient can be simpliﬁed to Cp = − (5. Such adjustments are called compressibility corrections. with it we can ﬁnd the pressure coeﬃcient. this equation can be simpliﬁed. The pressure coeﬃcient could normally be found using Cp = p − p∞ 2 = 2 q∞ γM∞ p −1 . we also need boundary conditions.3) Cp = M2 2 + √ ∞ 2 Cp. then also ˆ ∂φ = v = (V∞ + u) tan θ ≈ V∞ tan θ. 2 2 1 − M∞ 1 − M∞ (5. using cl. It is a linear partial diﬀerential equation.1) 2 1 − M∞ The lift coeﬃcient and moment coeﬃcient for compressible ﬂow can be derived similarly. ∂x2 ∂y (5. This is usually the case for thin bodies at small angles of attack. If also M∞ < 5 even more parts can be neglected. Second.8 or M∞ ≥ 1. (5.

1) The velocity of the ﬂow on top of our wing is generally bigger than the free stream velocity V∞ . It is a very important value. So the critical Mach number relates to the velocity at which the drag increases. By doing this. once we have passed M∞ = 1. This causes additional drag. however. However. Normally. we have two equations with two unknowns.0 1− 2 M∞ γ−1 2 2 M∞ Cp. So. (5. Instead. stating that Cp = Cp. Another way of reducing the drag around M = 1 is by using supercritical airfoils. The critical Mach number Mcr is deﬁned as the free stream Mach number M∞ at which sonic ﬂow (M = 1) is ﬁrst achieved on the airfoil surface.cr = − 1 . The idea behind this is not to increase the critical Mach number Mcr . (5. To ﬁnd it. the cross-section of the aircraft usually increases. to do that. This is done by making the top of the airfoil as ﬂat as possible.4) 5. the drag coeﬃcient can get as big as ten times cd. the cross-section of the fuselage at those points should decrease.4. So we may have sonic ﬂow (M = 1) over our wing. 17 .4 The Critical Mach Number The ﬂow velocity is diﬀerent on diﬀerent positions on the wing. The relation between Mcr and Cp.0 . shock waves will appear. We have then passed the so-called sound barrier. This is the position of minimum pressure and thus maximum velocity. the drag coeﬃcient cd decreases.0 is known.cr . (5. Let’s say we know the Mach number MA of the ﬂow over our wing at a given point A.3. This can reduce the drag coeﬃcient at M = 1 by an entire factor 2. we use the critical pressure coeﬃcient Cp.4.and Laitone’s rule. So we need an additional equation. ways to prevent this.0 . the cross-sectional area of an airplane should be as constant as possible.0 2 + 2 M∞ 1+ 2 1 − M∞ . when M∞ gets bigger than Mcr . airplanes can ﬂy at higher velocities. This relation is   γ γ−1 γ−1 2 2  1 + 2 Mcr Cp. It can be solved. Initially cd has the constant value of cd. Just measure the minimal pressure coeﬃcient over the entire wing. why is the critical Mach number so important? We can see that if we plot the drag coeﬃcient cd with respect to the free stream Mach number M∞ . This can be found using low-speed wind tunnel tests. we ﬁrst need to know Cp. But. It seems that sudden changes in the cross-sectional area of a wing cause a high drag coeﬃcient at the sonic region.2) 2 γMcr 1 + γ−1 2 However. it is to increase the drag-divergence Mach number. There are. The Mach number at which this occurs (which is often slightly bigger than Mcr ) is called the drag-divergence Mach number. So once Cp. At a certain free stream Mach number the drag coeﬃcient suddenly starts to increase enormously.cr can be found from the above equation.A γ−1 2 2  1 + 2 M∞ = γ−1 2 2 γM∞ 1 + 2 MA γ γ−1 − 1 .0 . while we are still ﬂying at M∞ < 1. without experiencing the massive increase in drag just yet. We can use any of the compressibility corrections for that. the above equation has two unknowns. 5. To prevent this. One way is the so-called area rule. At the positions of the wings. The corresponding pressure coeﬃcient can then be found using   Cp.5 The Increase in Drag You may wonder. However.

2. The pressure coeﬃcients at the lower and upper side of the plate.2 Lift and Drag Coeﬃcients of a Flat Plate Let’s give an example of how to use the relation that was just derived. 2 M∞ − 1 (6. there is a relatively high pressure.1.1. On the other hand. the pressure is relatively low. x − λy is constant. From this follows that. for a certain position on the wing with angle θ. 2 M∞ − 1 (6. Luckily you only have to remember one important thing.1 The Linearized Supersonic Pressure Coeﬃcient Equation In the previous chapter. 2 M∞ − 1 (6. λ (6. (6. we can rewrite it to ˆ ˆ ∂2φ ∂2φ λ2 2 − 2 = 0. if dy 1 = = dx λ 1 = tan µ.3) This important equation is called the linearized supersonic pressure coeﬃcient equation.1) ∂x ∂y ˆ Any function φ = f (x − λy) satisﬁes this equation. If the surface of the airfoil is inclined into the free stream. respectively. How do airfoils behave at M > 1? 6.6. we can also derive another important relation. however.1.l − Cp. So we ﬁnd ˆ that φ is constant along a Mach line.4) V∞ θ . The sign of θ. Also.2) where µ is the Mach angle. In this ﬁnal chapter we will take a look at supersonic ﬂow. if the surface is inclined away from the free stream. Cp. are given by Cp. Let’s calculate the lift and drag coeﬃcient of a ﬂat plate at an angle of attack α in a supersonic ﬂow. ˆ From the fact that φ = f (x − λy). and Cp is thus positive. which was introduced in the chapter on oblique shock waves.u = − 2α . we do ˆ know that if x − λy = constant.1) The component of the force acting normal to the plate cn can now be found using cn = 1 c c (Cp. and Cp is thus negative.1. be rather tricky.l and Cp.2) 18 . 6.u ) dx = 0 4α . However. and thus also of Cp can. So it initially may not seem helpful. also φ stays constant. If we deﬁne 2 λ = M∞ − 1.u . 2 M∞ − 1 (6.l = 2α 2 M∞ − 1 and Cp. we have u=− ˆ The pressure coeﬃcient can now be found using Cp = − 2ˆ u = V∞ 2θ . we derived the linear perturbation velocity potential equation.2. It is a rather simple way to ﬁnd Cp . Supersonic Flow over Airfoils In the previous chapter we treated subsonic ﬂow over airfoils.

Isn’t it surprising that such simple equations can say so much about such complicated aircrafts? 19 . (6. 2 M∞ − 1 (6. and also ﬂy at low angles of attack. there is no component of the force acting parallel to the plate.4) These equations are only valid for ﬂat plates at small angles of attack.3) Using cos α ≈ 1 and sin α ≈ α we eventually get cl = 4α 2 M∞ − 1 and cn = 4α2 .2. however. So the above equations can often also be applied for the wings of supersonic aircrafts. usually have relatively ﬂat wings.2.Since the plate has no thickness. Supersonic airplanes. So we have cl = cn cos α and cd = cn sin α.