Experimental studies of unstart dynamics in inlet/isolator configurations in a Mach 5 flow

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Wagner, Justin Lawrence

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The dynamics of the unstart process in inlet / isolator models mounted to the floor of a Mach 5 wind tunnel are investigated experimentally. The most extensively studied model has an inlet section that contains a 6-degree compression ramp and the isolator is a rectangular straight duct that is 25.4 mm high by 50.8 mm wide by 242.3 mm long. Unstart is initiated by raising a motor-driven flap that is located at the downstream end of the isolator section. Unstart proceeds with the formation of a shock system that propagates upstream at an average velocity of about 37 m/s (in the lab frame of reference), which is five percent of the freestream velocity. Unstart is seen to be associated with strong shock-induced separation that leads to reverse flow velocities up to about 300 m/s as measured by PIV. Both the schlieren imaging and PIV data suggest the dynamics and flow structure of the unstart process are dependent on inlet geometry. Furthermore, the PIV data indicate the unstart process to be highly three-dimensional. Finally, tripping the ceiling and sidewall boundary layers was seen to result in slower unstart processes. In addition, results are presented for 0-degree (no inlet) and 8-degree inlet / isolator models. In the 0-degree model, the experimental data show that the flow structure and propagation velocities of the unstart shock system are much more constant than those measured in unstart events with an inlet. In addition, an increased inlet compression angle appears to result in an increased unstart propagation velocity in the isolator. This is possibly related to the fact that with an increased compression ramp angle, the unstart shock system propagates against a lower momentum opposing flow. Furthermore, the inlet geometry is also seen to affect the flow that follows the unstart process. Experiments were also conducted with each of the three inlets attached to a shortened isolator. The short-isolator experiments showed it was possible to form a stable high-compression shock system in the isolator by raising the flap. This was not the case in longer isolator tests.



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