Computational Analysis of Transient Unstart/Restart Characteristics in a Variable Geometry, High-Speed Inlet
Reardon, Jonathan Paul
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This work seeks to analyze the transient characteristics of a high-speed inlet with a variable-geometry, rotating cowl. The inlet analyzed is a mixed compression inlet with a compression ramp, sidewalls and a rotating cowl. The analysis is conducted at nominally Mach 4.0 wind tunnel conditions. Advanced Computational Fluid Dynamics techniques such as transient solutions to the Unsteady Reynolds-averaged Navier-Stokes equations and relative mesh motion are used to predict and investigate the unstart and restart processes of the inlet as well as the associated hysteresis. Good agreement in the quasi-steady limit with a traditional analysis approach was obtained. However, the new model allows for more detailed, time-accurate information regarding the fully transient features of the unstart, restart, and hysteresis to be obtained that could not be captured by the traditional, quasi-steady analysis. It is found that the development of separated flow regions at the shock impingement points as well as in the corner regions play a principal role in the unstart process of the inlet. Also, the hysteresis that exists when the inlet progresses from the unstarted to restarted condition is captured by the time-accurate computations. In this case, the hysteresis manifests itself as a requirement of a much smaller cowl angle to restart the inlet than was required to unstart it. This process is shown to be driven primarily by the viscous, separated flow that sets up ahead of the inlet when it is unstarted. In addition, the effect of cowl rotation rate is assessed and is generally found to be small; however, definite trends are observed. Finally, a rigorous assessment of the computational errors and uncertainties of the Variable-Cowl Model indicated that Computation Fluid Dynamics is a valid tool for analyzing the transient response of a high-speed inlet in the presence of unstart, restart and hysteresis phenomena. The current work thus extends the state of knowledge of inlet unstart and restart to include transient computations of contraction ratio unstart/restart in a variable-geometry inlet.
General Audience Abstract
Flight at high speeds requires efficient engine operation and performance. As the vehicle traverses through its flight profile, the engine will undergo changes in operating conditions. At high speeds, these changes can lead to significant performance loss and can be detrimental to the vehicle. It is, therefore, important to develop tools for predicting characteristics of the engine and its response to disturbances. Computational Fluid Dynamics is a common method of computing the fluid flow through the engine. However, traditionally, CFD has been applied to predict the static performance of an engine. This work seeks to advance the state of the art by applying CFD to predict the transient response of the engine to changes in operating conditions brought about by a variable geometry inlet with rotating components.
- Doctoral Dissertations