Exergy Methods for the Mission-Level Analysis and Optimization of Generic Hypersonic Vehicles
Though the field of hypersonic vehicle design is thriving again, few studies to date demonstrate the technology through a mission in which multiple flight conditions and constraints are encountered. This is likely due to the highly integrated and sensitive nature of hypersonic vehicle components. Consequently, a formal Mach 6 through Mach 10 flight envelope is explored which includes cruise, acceleration/climb, deceleration/descend and turn mission segments. An exergy approach to the vehicle synthesis/design, in which trade-offs between dissimilar technologies are observed, is proposed and measured against traditional methods of assessing highly integrated systems.
A quasi one-dimensional hypersonic vehicle system simulation program was constructed. Composed of two sub-systems, propulsion and airframe, mechanisms for loss are computed from such irreversible processes as shocks, friction, heat transfer, mixing, and incomplete combustion. The propulsion sub-system consists of inlet, combustor, and nozzle, while the airframe provides trim and force accounting measures. An energy addition mechanism, based on the potential of MHD technology, is utilized to maintain a shock-on-lip inlet operating condition. Thirteen decision variables (seven design and six operational) were chosen to govern the vehicle geometry and performance. A genetic algorithm was used to evaluate the optimal vehicle synthesis/design for three separate objective functions, i.e the optimizations involved the maximization of thrust efficiency, the minimization of fuel mass consumption, and the minimization of exergy destruction plus fuel exergy loss.
The principal results found the minimum fuel consumption and minimum exergy destruction measures equivalent, both meeting the constraints of the mission while using 11% less fuel than the thrust efficiency measure. Optimizing the vehicle for the single most constrained mission segment yielded a vehicle capable of flying the entire mission but with fuel consumption and exergy destruction plus fuel loss values greater than the above mentioned integrated vehicle solutions. In essence, the mission-level analysis provided much insight into the dynamics of mission-level hypersonic flight and demonstrated the usefulness of an exergy destruction minimization measure for highly integrated synthesis/design.