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Title: Characterization of high speed inlets using global measurement techniques
Author: Che Idris, Azam
ISNI:       0000 0004 5364 6251
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2014
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After the end of the NASA space shuttle programme, there has been resurgence of interest in developing a single stage-to-orbit spacecraft. The key technology to realize this dream is the airbreathing scramjet engine. The scramjet concept has been around for decades, but much work is still needed in order to eliminate the remaining obstacles to develop a practical working prototype of the engine. Many such obstacles are related to the inlet which functions as the main compression unit for the engine. Typically, a high speed inlet is designed to function properly in a single flight condition. Such an inlet would experience adverse flow conditions related to various shock-shock interactions, viscous effects, shock-boundary layer interactions, and many other flow phenomena at off-design conditions. The traditional mechanism to mitigate the adverse flow conditions is by varying the inlet geometry at off-design conditions. There are still gaps in understanding the behaviour of inlets at off-design conditions and the effectiveness of variable geometry as inlet flow control. This is partly due to complex flow diagnostics setup, which limits the type, quantity and quality of information that can be extracted from the inlet flow. The first objective of this thesis was to develop a global inlet measurement system that can provide an abundance of information on inlet flow. The pressure sensitive paint method was employed together with other methods to provide comprehensive understanding on inlet flow characteristics. Calculation of Mach number at the isolator exit using the isolator sidewall pressure map was successfully demonstrated. The measurement of Mach number at the isolator exit has allowed for performance of the inlet to be calculated without the need for intrusive flow diagnostics tools used by previous researchers. The global measurement system was then employed to investigate the characteristics of the scramjet inlet operating at various off-design conditions. Complex shock structures were observed at the inlet cowl entrance as the angle-of-attack was increased. The relationship of flow quality and inlet performance was examined and discussed. General improvements on the inlet performance were obtained if the size of separation on the compression ramp was reduced. The inlet was also observed to perform poorly when compression shocks impinged on the inner cowl surface. Cowl deflections were demonstrated to be effective in controlling the internal flow of the inlet and improving its performance. An exploratory study on the role of micro-vortex generators to control boundary layer separation on scramjet inlets has been included as well. Strategies for optimizing an inlet at off-design conditions were analysed, and it was found that any variable geometry combination must maintain high throat-to-freestream Mach number ratio in order to preserve high inlet performance.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Malaysian Ministry of Education
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: scramjet ; hypersonic ; pressure sensitive paint ; Mach 5 ; high speed inlet ; compressible flow