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# Introduction to Oblique shocks

## 1. Definitions (shocks and expansion fans)

A shock: a discontinuity in the flow. Hence the flow properties change discontinuously
(i.e. a very abrupt change in the values of pressure, density, velocity, temperature, etc).
Shock waves are divided into oblique and normal shocks, although a normal shock is a
special case of oblique shock.
Shocks occur because in a supersonic flow, a body in the flow, e.g. an aerofoil creates a
disturbance (it takes the form of acoustic waves or vibrations of the air molecules in an
organised compression waveform) whose information cannot be conveyed upstream due
to the local flow speed being higher than the disturbance speed. Hence in a supersonic
flow the disturbance is felt over a very small part of the flow. In contrast in a subsonic
flow, the disturbance (acoustic waves travel at the speed of sound) can travel upstream
and this influences the upstream flow it has time for some of the flow to adjust to the
body before the flow molecules arrive at the aerofoil.
In a supersonic flow, the density variations are of major importance in determining the
flow character.
An Expansion Fan: if the flow is able to expand, say around a convex corner, no shock
will form and there is no change in entropy. The Mach or pressure waves fan out and all
the flow properties change continuously. The function that links the angle of the wave to
the Mach number is called the Prandtl-Meyer function. It is provided as a table in most
aerodynamic books (and will be provided in the Aerodynamics B exam)
Ratio of specific heats, . This is the ratio of the specific heats.
cp
= (specific heat at constant pressure)/(specific heat at constant volume).

cv
In standard air =1.4
In standard aerodynamic problems (subsonic, transonic and supersonic regimes) we treat
the specific heats as constants, hence is constant, i.e. air is treated as calorically perfect
(i.e. a perfect or ideal gas). The specific heats are dependent on temperature but only in
extreme cases, like hypersonics, does this need to taken account of in the relevant
calculations.
Entropy, s. When a change takes place (chemical or physical), entropy will either stay the
same or increase. Entropy is used to define the direction a process will take. Across a
shock entropy rises. The change in entropy that occurs in a reaction is related to the
change in pressure and temperature that occurs in that reaction.
Enthalpy, h. Enthalpy is proportional to temperature in standard aerodynamic problems.
h=cpT

## Isentropic flow = a frictionless, adiabatic, reversible flow. Entropy is constant. Hence

there are no discontinuities in an isentropic flow. Isentropic flow relations can be used
within a region but never across regions divided by a shock wave. Example of an
isentropic flow is the flow in a nozzle and/or a diffuser where the change in the flow
conditions is caused mainly by the change in area.

Taking M1 as a supersonic Mach number, sketch the shock waves and the expansion fans
for each of the six cases.

M1

M1

M1

M1

M1

M1

## Aerodynamics, C. Toomer, 2013

2. Equations
Across a shock from region 1 to region 2:
Substance
Mach number
Speed
Velocity component along
shock
Velocity component normal
to shock
Static pressure
Density
Static temperature
Entropy
Total enthalpy
Total temperature
Total pressure

decreased
decreased
constant

M2<M1
V2<V1
w2=w1

decreased

u2<u1

increased
increased
increased
increased
constant
constant
decreased

p2>p1
2>1
T2>T1
s2>s1
h0,2=h0,1
T0,2=T0,1
p0,2<p0,1

## 1. Speed and Velocity components

Velocity component along the shock in region 1 is w1= V1cos()
Mach number component along the shock in region 1 is Mt,1 = M1 cos()
Velocity component normal to the shock in region 1 is u 1= V1sin()
Mach number component normal to the shock in region 1 is M n,1 = M1 sin()
Velocity component along the shock in region 2 is w2= V2cos(-)
Mach number component along the shock in region 2 is M t,2 = M2 cos(-)
Velocity component normal to the shock in region 2 is u 2= V2sin(-)
Mach number component normal to the shock in region 2 is M n,2 = M2 sin(-)
The normal components of the Mach numbers are related by the formula:
M n2, 2

1 ( 1) / 2M n2,1

(M n2,1 ( 1) / 2)
Hence this is the formula that can be used in the calculation of M2.

2 ( M n2,1 1)
p2
1
p1
( 1)

( 1) M n,1
2

1 2 ( 1) M n2,1
2

## 4. Temperature ratio across a shock

T2 p 2 1

T1
p1 2
Note that all the ratios of quantities across a shock are dependent on the upstream
Mach number only.
Across the Expansion fan from region 2 to region 3
The equations that are appropriate here are isentropic relations.
1. Velocity and Mach number components
The deflection of the surface from region 2 to region 3, 23 = (M3)-(M2)
where is the Prandtl-Meyer function.
2. Temperature ratio

T3 1 ( 1) M 22 / 2

T2 1 ( 1) M 32 / 2
3. Pressure ratio

p3 T3 1

p 2 T2
4. Density ratio

p3 3

p 2 2

## 3. Question (typical of part of an exam question)

Consider a diamond wedge aerofoil (or symmetric wedge aerofoil) with angle = 4
degrees. The freestream static pressure is 100kPa and the static temperature is 27 degrees
C.

M1=2
(2)

(3)
o

(4)

(1)

Calculate the Mach numbers, pressures and temperatures in the separate regions on this
aerofoil.
Region (1) to Region (2): Calculation through an oblique shock wave
(i) Calculate the shock wave angle (angle between the horizontal and the shock wave)
Use the Oblique shock wave --M diagram. We know M=2 and = 4 degrees, so the
(weak) shock wave angle is 33.4 degrees. (What is the strong shock wave angle?)
(ii) Calculate the normal Mach number in region 1: Mn,1
Mn,1 = M1 sin() = 1.100
(iii) Calculate the pressure ratio across the shock, and the pressure in region 2
2 ( M n2,1 1)
p2
=1.244
1
p1
( 1)
Since p1=100 kPa, this implies p2=1.244 x 100 = 124.4 kPa
(static pressure has increased across the shock)
(iv) Calculate the temperature ratio across the shock and the temperature in region 2.
In order to calculate the temperature ratio, we need the pressure ratio and the density ratio
(or a kind person to give you one formula for the temperature ratio see past exam
papers)

## Aerodynamics, C. Toomer, 2013

( 1) M n,1
2

1 2 ( 1) M n2,1
2

T2 p 2 1
=1.065

T1
p1 2
Since T1 = (273.15+27)=300.15 K,
T2=1.065 x 300.15 = 319.6 K
(static temperature has increased across the shock)
(iv) Calculate the Mach number in region 2
1 ( 1) / 2M n2,1
2
= 0.832
M n, 2
(M n2,1 ( 1) / 2)
Mn,2 = 0.912
For the Mach number, use: Mn,2 = M2 sin(-)
M2= (0.912)/(sin(-)) = (0.912)/(sin(33.4-4)) = (0.912)/(sin(29.4))=1.858
(Mach number has decreased across a shock)
Region (2) to Region (3): Calculation through an expansion fan
The angle of change between the aerofoil surface in region 2 to region 3, 23 is (4+4)= 8
degrees.
(i) Calculate the Prandtl-Meyer function values
using 23 = (M3)-(M2)
23= 8 degrees, and M2=1.858 (from calculation above).
Using the Prandtl-Meyer function table (M2)=22.4
Hence (M3)=(M2)+ 23 = 22.4+8=30.4 degrees
(ii) Calculate the Mach number is region 3
Use the Prandtl-Meyer function table with (M3) = 30.4, so M3=2.149
(Note the Mach number in region 3 is higher than in region 2 and in region 1)
(iii) Calculate the temperature ratio and the temperature in region 3
T3 1 ( 1) M 22 / 2

T2 1 ( 1) M 32 / 2
We know the values of , the Mach numbers and the temperature in region 2.
T
Hence 3 0.8789, and T3=0.8789 x 319.6 = 280.9K
T2
(note the temperature is reducing from region 2 to region 3)
(iv) Calculate the pressure ratio and the pressure in region 3

## Aerodynamics, C. Toomer, 2013

p3 T3 1
= (0.8789)3.5 = 0.6364
p 2 T2
p3= 0.6364 x 124.4 = 79.19 kPa
(The pressure has decreased below that in regions 1 & 2 as consistent with the
effects of flow expansion)
Region (3) to Region (4): Calculation through an oblique shock wave
Over to you.

Points to ponder:
- could you complete the calculation for a wedge angle of 10 degrees
- if the geometry was changed to include a horizontal section in the middle of the
aerofoil (like in the fifth sketch on page 2) what would be the values of the flow variables
in the regions then?
- Complete the calculation for the lift and drag coefficient values. (Hint: you may be
lacking one parameter value, but you can complete the calculation by including the
parameter in the calculation and in the answer.)