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
streamline, in a steady adiabatic inviscid flow. We therefore have
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
start with the Prandtl relation, stating that
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 .

To the left of this shock wave are the initial properties of the flow (denoted by the subscript 1). It is also adiabatic. steady.1. we have A1 = A2 .4) . To the right are the conditions behind the wave. h1 and T1 are known. The mass flow that leaves the system on the right is ρ2 u2 A2 . u1 . 1 Identically. There is work done on the system though.2) Finally let’s look at the energy. So this was no surprising result. we can combine everything to get u2 u2 1 = h2 + 2 . Finally. 4 (2. We can’t solve for all the downstream conditions just yet. No heat is added to the system (the 2 flow is adiabatic). 2.1) We can also use the momentum equation. It is a steady flow (the properties stay constant in time). Since the shock wave was adiabatic. However. These equations are h = cp T. Figure 2. Let’s suppose that all upstream conditions ρ1 . We have only three equations. the energy leaving the system is (ρ2 u2 A2 ) e2 + u2 /2 .3) 2 2 This equation states that the total enthalpy is the same on both sides of the shock wave. we actually already knew that. while we have four unknowns. Normal Shock Waves Where there are supersonic flows. The momentum entering the system every second is given by (ρ1 u1 A1 )u1 . inviscid flows. there are no body forces.1. We can already note a few things about the flow.2.1. But let’s take a closer look at them. with u the velocity of the flow in x-direction. there are usually also shock waves. The amount of work done every second is p1 A1 u1 − p2 A2 u2 . h1 + The three equations we have just derived hold for all one-dimensional. A fundamental type of shock wave is the normal shock wave – the shock wave normal to the flow direction. we can find that p 1 + ρ1 u 2 = p 2 + ρ2 u 2 . No viscous effects are present between the system and its boundaries. (2. The net force acting on the system is given by p1 A1 − p2 A2 .1 Basic Relations Let’s consider a rectangular piece of air (the system) around a normal shock wave. we can find that the mass flow that enters the system on the left is ρ1 u1 A1 . (2. We need a few more equations. as is shown in figure 2. Combining everything. We will examine that type of shock wave in this chapter. The energy entering the system every second is (ρ1 u1 A1 ) e1 + u2 /2 . adiabatic. Now what can we derive? Using the continuity equation. p1 . since the system is rectangular. The momentum flow leaving the system is identically (ρ2 u2 A2 )u2 .1.1. Once more. 1 2 (2. since no heat is added. So we find that ρ1 u 1 = ρ2 u 2 .1: A normal shock wave.

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.