AAE 51900: Hypersonic Aerothermodynamics


Introduction to the aerodynamics of satellites and planetary reentry. Continuum hypersonic flow. Inviscid and viscous effects, boundary layers, and heat transfer. Shock and boundary-layer interactions. Introduction to equilibrium flow of high-temperature reacting gases. Nonequilibrium effects. Kinetic theory and rarefied flows. Direct Simulation Monte Carlo techniques.

Format: 3 hrs lecture per week

Credit hours: 3

Status: Elective, Aerodynamics, Astronautics

Offered: Fall

Pre-requisite: AAE 334 or equivalent, and MA 303 or MA 304

Co-requisite: None

Staff: Professor Schneider

Text: Hypersonic and High-Temperature Gas Dynamics, John D. Anderson, Jr., AIAA Publications, Reston, Virginia, 2000, ISBN 1-56347-459-X.

Assessment Method: Two Midterm Exams, 20% each, Homework 30%, Computer Project 30%. Grading Policy is an instructor option and may vary.

Course Goal & Objectives:


Introduce the specialized phenomena encountered in hypersonic flows. Introduce some classical and modern analysis methods, along with standard results from theory, computation, and experiment. Solve selected problems in some depth. Prepare the student to identify key hypersonic issues and candidate analysis methods. Prepare the student to carry out more detailed studies in the future as needed.

Objectives include developing abilities to:

Identify the critical physical phenomena in hypersonic and planetary-reentry flows

Calculate pressure distributions for simple shapes using shock-expansion and newtonian theories. Calculate forces and moments for these shapes

Understand the phenomena of hypersonic viscous flow, and the methods available for analysis. Select and use simple computer codes for approximate analysis

Appreciate the critical effect of chemistry in hypervelocity flows. Understand the basic physical phenomena

Understand some of the basic phenomena in rarefied flows.

Search the literature for hypersonic flows. Be able to carry out more detailed studies as needed.

Necessary Background:

1. Vector calculus and differential equations through PDEs

2. Thermodynamics

3. Introductory Fluid Mechanics

4. Inviscid compressible flow.

5. Ability to write a computer program. Experience with FORTRAN desirable.


1. Introduction: Hypersonic flow phenomena. Characteristics of planetary atmospheres. Anderson Chap. 1, Bertin Chap. 1, papers. (4 classes)

2. Inviscid Hypersonic Flow: Hypersonic shock approximations. Local surface inclination methods. Other approximate methods. Survey of exact methods. Anderson Chap. 2-5. (10 classes)

3. Viscous Hypersonic Flow: Self-similar boundary layer theory. Heat transfer. Shock and boundary-layer interactions. Survey of approximate and exact methods. Anderson Chap. 6-8, Bertin Chap. 7, 9, and 10. (16 classes)

4. Introduction to Physical Chemistry of Gases: Thermodynamics of reacting gases. Statistical mechanics and kinetic theory. Anderson Chap. 9-12, Vincenti and Kruger Chap. 1-5 + 9, Bird Chap. 1-6. Here, we will cover only material essential to an understanding of rarefied flows. The chemistry of reacting gases is covered in some depth in AAE439 and AAE539, and in ME501. Time constraints will allow us to provide only a very brief overview. (3 classes)

5. High-Enthalpy Gasdynamics: Hypersonic flows with chemical reaction effects. Equilibrium flow. Stagnation point heating. Anderson Chap. 13-18, Bertin (various sections), Vincenti and Kruger Chap. 6-8 and 10-12. This is a large and complex topic. Here, only equilibrium flow will be covered in any depth. The thermodynamics of equilibrium air will be presented without derivation and used to solve stagnation point flow. (9 classes)

6. Rarefied Gasdynamics: Collisionless flows. The newtonian free-molecular approximation. Direct Simulation Monte Carlo techniques. Application to high-altitude aerodynamics and the gasdynamics of satellite thrusters. Bird Chap. 7-16.  (2 classes)

Emphasis will vary.

Relation to Program Objectives:

This is a senior/graduate level elective in aerodynamics and astronautics. All course objectives contribute to the program objective of providing technical competence in aerodynamics/propulsion (1). The ability to formulate and solve engineering problems (2a) is emphasized in the homework assignments and the projects. The ability to communicate effectively in writing (2c) is covered in the projects and homeworks (which take the form of informal reports). The final project is orally presented to the class (2c). Professional conduct (2d), life-long learning (3) and society impact (4) are discussed by the instructor through anecdotal stories throughout the course. An attitude of life-long learning is explicitly encouraged by the open-ended assignments, which leave much to be explored in the future.

Prepared by: Steven Schneider

Date: February 3, 2010