Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics

First Advisor

Paul I. King, PhD.


For hypersonic flight, the scramjet engine uses an isolator to contain the pre-combustion shock train formed by the pressure difference between the inlet and the combustion chamber. If this shock train were to reach the inlet, it would cause an engine unstart, disrupting the flow through the engine and leading to a loss of thrust and potential loss of the vehicle. Prior to this work, a Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) simulation of the isolator was needed for simulating and characterizing the isolator flow and for finding the relationship between back pressure and changes in the location of the leading edge of the shock train. In this work, the VULCAN code was employed with back pressure as an input to obtain the time history of the shock train leading location. Results were obtained for both transient and steady-state conditions. The simulation showed a relationship between back-to-inlet pressure ratios and final locations of the shock train. For the 2-D runs, locations were within one isolator duct height of experimental results while for 3-D runs, the results were within two isolator duct heights.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number