Nonequilibrium Hypersonic Flows


Credit Hours:


Learning Objective:

Introduce students with a background in fundamental fluid mechanics and thermodynamics to hypersonic flow with thermochemical nonequilibrium.


This introductory course provides engineering students with an overview of statistical physics, physical chemistry, and the modeling of nonequilbrium thermodynamic processes. It goes on to apply these tools to predicting flow at very high speeds, for example in atmospheric entry flight. Theory and application of hypersonic aerothermodynamics will be covered evenly.

Topics Covered:

  1. Introduction: Kinetic Theory and Quantum Mechanics
  2. Equilibrium: Kinetic Theory, Statistical Mechanics, Chemistry
  3. Nonequilibrium: Boltzmann Equation, Moments, Closure
  4. Translational Nonequilibrium
  5. Vibrational and Chemical Rate Processes
  6. Inviscid Flow
  7. Viscous Flow
  8. Radiative Transfer


Undergraduate fluid mechanics, vector calculus, partial differential equations, basic programming skills, introductory chemistry and physics

Applied / Theory:

50 / 50


There will be several homework assignments, which may require significant programming (Matlab, python, Fortran, C++, etc). Homework will be due at the beginning of class on the due date and must be prepared in a professional manner. Late homework may be penalized.


There will be one midterm exam and one final exam.


The class will primarily follow Prof. Poggie???s course notes, which will be provided. Suggested references include:
  • J. D. Anderson, Hypersonic and High Temperature Gas Dynamics, 2nd ed., AIAA, 2006
  • I. D. Boyd and T. E. Schwartzentruber, Nonequilibrium Gas Dynamics and Molecular Simulation, Cambridge University Press, 2017
  • D. A. McQuarrie and J. D. Simon, Physical Chemistry: A Molecular Approach, University Science Books, 1997
  • W. G. Vincenti and C. H. Kruger, Introduction to Physical Gas Dynamics, Krieger Publishing, 1965

Computer Requirements:

ProEd Minimum Requirements: