Normal Shock Wave-Boundary Layer Interactions in Transonic Intakes at Incidence

Change log
Coschignano, Andrea 

During take-off, the aerodynamic performance of a transonic engine intake is dominated by the flow-field over the nacelle lower lip, around which the flow might accelerate to supersonic speeds. A shock wave might appear and impinge on the incoming boundary layer. Flow separation may result from this interaction, leading to severe flow distortion. In order to maximise fuel efficiency by reducing aerodynamic drag, slimmer nacelle designs are currently being pursued by manufacturers. Understanding the impact of design choices on the development of shock-wave boundary layer interactions (SBLI) is crucial, as these phenomena have a severe effect on the stability of the flow inside the nacelle. The available literature is rather scarce and unable to assess the nature and severity of SBLIs, which remain to be addressed in the context of nacelles at incidence. To address this shortcoming, a novel experimental rig has been designed exclusively to assess the detrimental effects resulting from shock-induced separation for a number of intake lip shapes and inflow conditions. For the reference intake shape, the flow field around the lower lip during on-design take-off conditions was found to be relatively benign, with minimal shock-induced separation. As incidence is increased by 2◦, from the reference incidence of 23◦, this separation gets noticeably larger and unsteadiness develops. The downstream boundary layer is more distorted and reflects the losses across the interaction. This is exacerbated at even higher incidence. Increasing the mass flow rate over the lip up to 15% of the initial value had only minor effects on performance. The parametric investigation revealed a significant effect of lip shape on the position and severity of the SBLI. In particular, a slimmer nacelle performed poorly, favouring shock development very close to the lip nose and promoting large scale separation as the incidence increases. From correlation studies based on the parametric investigation, it appears that the extent of shock-induced separation is the main factor affecting the aerodynamic performance. Somewhat surprisingly, this was found to be independent of shock strength but potentially related to the severity of the diffusion downstream of the shock. Alongside delaying flow reattachment, this diffusion is also likely to have a direct detrimental effect on the boundary layer development close to the engine fan.

Babinsky, Holger
Aerodynamics, Intakes, Shock waves, Boundary layers
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Awarding Institution
University of Cambridge