# NPTEL IIT Kharagpur: Prof. K.P. Sinhamahapatra, Dept.

of Aerospace Engineering

1

Module3:
Waves in Supersonic Flow

Lecture14:
Waves in Supersonic Flow
(Contd.)

NPTEL IIT Kharagpur: Prof. K.P. Sinhamahapatra, Dept. of Aerospace Engineering

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Mach Reflection:

The appearance of subsonic regions in the flow complicates the problem. The complications are also
encountered in shock reflections, when they are too strong to give the simple or regular reflections. If
2
M after the incident shock is lower than the detachment Mach number forθ , then no solution with
simple oblique wave is possible. A three-shock Mach reflection appears that satisfies the downstream
conditions.

A normal, or, nearly normal, shock that appears near the wall forms with the incident and reflected
shocks a triple intersection point at O. Due to the difference in entropy on streamlines above and
below the triple point, the streamline that extends downstream from the triple point is a slipstream.
The nearly normal shock is termed ‘shock stem’.

The subsonic region behind the shock stem makes a local description of the configuration impossible.
The triple point solution that occurs in a particular problem and the location of the triple point are
determined by the downstream conditions which influence the subsonic part of the flow.

Shock-Expansion Theory

Slip stream

0 M
1

M
2
<1
M
2
>1

NPTEL IIT Kharagpur: Prof. K.P. Sinhamahapatra, Dept. of Aerospace Engineering

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Oblique shock wave and simple isentropic wave relations can be used to analyze many 2-D
supersonic flow problems, particularly for geometries with straight segments.

(1) Diamond-section airfoil: Consider a diamond section or double-wedge section airfoil with
semi-vertex angle ε. Assume the semi-vertex angle to be sufficiently smaller than
max
θ associated with the free stream Mach number
1
M . An attached oblique shock appears at
the nose that compresses the

flow to pressure
2
p .On the straight portion, downstream of the shock the flow remains uniform at
2
M .
The centered expansion at the shoulder expands the flow to pressure
3
p and the trailing edge shock
recompresses it to nearly the free stream pressure (
1 4
p p ≈ ). Hence, an overpressure acts on the
forward face and an under-pressure acts on the rearward face. Since the pressure on the two straight
portions is unequal, a drag force acts on the airfoil. This drag force is given by
( ) ( )
2 3 2 3
cos D p p t p p t ε = − ⋅ ≈ − per unit span

t is the section thickness at the shoulder. Pressure values
2
p and
3
p can be obtained using the
shock and expansion relations. This drag exists only in supersonic flow and is called ‘supersonic
wave drag’.

p
3
p
4
p
2
p
1
3
4
2
M
1
, p
1

M
1
>1

t

NPTEL IIT Kharagpur: Prof. K.P. Sinhamahapatra, Dept. of Aerospace Engineering

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(2) Flat plate at incidence: Consider a flat plate of chord c set at an angle of attack α . Due to
no upstream influence, the streamlines ahead of the leading edge are straight and the upper surface
flow is independent of lower surface. The flow on the upper surface turns at the nose through a
centered expansion by the angle α whereas on the lower side the flow is turned through a
compression angleα by an oblique shock. The reverse happens at the trailing edge.

From the uniform pressures on the two sides, the lift and drag forces are
( )
3 2
cos L p p c α = −

( )
3 2
sin D p p c α = −

The shock on the lower surface at the nose is weaker than the shock at the trailing edge on the upper
surface (shock at higher Mach number). Hence, the increase in entropy for flow on the two sides is
not same and consequently the streamline from the trailing edge is a slipstream inclined at a small
angle relative to the free stream.

(3) Curved airfoil section

An attached shock forms at the nose. Subsequently, continuous expansion occurs along the surface.
The flow leaves at the trailing edge through an oblique shock. For the shocks to be attached, it is
required that nose and tail be wedge shaped with half angle less than
max
θ . Since the flow over the
curved wall varies continuously, no simple expression for lift and drag forces is obtained in this case.
α Slip stream
3
2
M
1
>1
M
1
, p
1

p
1

p
2

p
3

NPTEL IIT Kharagpur: Prof. K.P. Sinhamahapatra, Dept. of Aerospace Engineering

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If a larger portion of the flow field is considered, then the shocks and expansion waves will interact.
The expansion fans attenuate the oblique shocks, making them weak and curved. At large distances
they approach asymptotically the free-stream Mach lines. Due to the interaction the waves will reflect.
The reflected wave system will alter the flow field. In shock-expansion theory, the reflected waves are
neglected. For a diamond airfoil and a lifting flat plate, the reflected waves do not intercept the airfoil
at all. Hence, the shock-expansion results are not affected.

NPTEL IIT Kharagpur: Prof. K.P. Sinhamahapatra, Dept. of Aerospace Engineering

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