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Hypersonic Propulsion


Credit Hours:


Learning Objective:

Develop knowledge and analysis capabilities for hypersonic propulsion devices including:
  • Supersonic inlet and exhaust systems
  • Mixing and combustion in high-speed airbreathing engines
  • Turbine-based combined cycle systems
  • Ducted rockets and solid fuel ramjets
  • Ramjets and scramjets
  • Detonation-based approaches using pulsed or rotating detonations


The course is intended for students with undergraduate aerospace propulsion experience/education. The main emphasis is on high-speed airbreathing systems with and without turbomachinery. High-speed inlets, isolators, combustors and exhaust systems are discussed in detail. A brief introduction to modern detonation-based approaches and thermal management is included. Students conduct a detailed analysis of a given system as a final project in the course.
Fall 2021 Syllabus

Topics Covered:

Introduction - Hypersonic propulsion missions, classification of systems, mission analysis, modified rocket equation (3 lectures)
Inlets/Compression Systems - inlet types, inlet starting, analysis of 1, 2, and 3 shock inlets, isentropic spike inlets, isolators (4 lectures)
Mixers - constant area and constant pressure mixer, incompressible and compressible shear layers (4 lectures)
Turbine-Based Systems for High-Speed Flight - cycle analysis, water/fluid injection, afterburning, turboramjets, performance calculations (2 Lectures)
Pulse/Rotating Detonation Engines - Principles of operation, Chapman-Jouget detonations, performance analysis (4 Lectures)
Ramjets/Scramjets - cycle analysis, 1-D internal flow analysis, performance calculation (4 Lectures)
RBCC Systems/Ducted Rockets - cycle analysis, 1-D internal flow analysis, performance prediction (2 Lectures)
Cooling/heat transfer analysis - film, transportation and convective cooling, cooling with hydrocarbon fuels (2 Lectures)
Guest Speakers (1-2 Lectures)
Presentation of concept designs from each group (3-4 Lectures)


Students entering this course are expected to have prior undergraduate or graduate coursework in both airbreathing and rocket propulsion systems (Purdue AAE339 and AAE439) although some have taken the course concurrently with AAE439.

Applied / Theory:


All assignments will be due at the beginning of class. No late assignments will be accepted for any reason.


Each of the teams will submit a final report providing a detailed design of a hypersonic propulsion system. The report should contain sufficient detail to identify the flow conditions at all stations within the device - more details on the final project to follow.


One 2-hour midterm


There is no formal text for the class. However, several books have been placed on reserve in the Engineering Library: Curran, E. T. and Murthy, S.N.B., Scramjet Propulsion, 2001 Murthy, S.N.B, Developments in High-Speed Propulsion, 1996 Murthy, S.N.B., and Curran, E. T., High-Speed Flight Propulsion Systems, 1991 Heiser, W.H. and Pratt, D. T., Hypersonic Airbreathing Propulsion, 1994. Segal, C., The Scramjet Engine, Cambridge University Press, 2009 The first four refs. are all part of the AIAA Progress in Astronautics and Aeronautics series.

Computer Requirements:

ProEd Minimum Computer Requirements

ProEd Minimum Requirements: