One of the largest obstacles in the development of hypersonic vehicles is the uncertainty regarding laminar to turbulent boundary layer transition.
Transition location directly affects vehicle performance in areas such as drag, propulsive efficiency, vehicle dynamics, and thermal loading.
Benefits of controlling the transition location consist of:
- Delaying transition: improves heat shielding weight requirements for reentry vehicles, reduces the effects of friction drag
- Inducing transition: e.g., at the entrance of a scramjet to improve efficiency and range, delays flow separation
Efficient control strategies require knowledge of the behavior of instabilities generated from disturbances in the flowfield and an understanding of the flow physics.
The Computational Stability and Transition (CST) lab is focused on understanding these instabilities that cause flow to transition by way of state-of-the-art disturbance modeling.