Fundamental Processes in Hypersonic Flows
AFOSR MURI #13 - 2010

Program Managers: Dr. John Schmisseur, Dr. Ali Sayir, and Dr. Michael Berman

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The US Air Force plans to develop hypersonic systems that will fly in the atmosphere for extended periods of time. These vehicles will require the use of advanced thermal protection systems and ablative materials. To enable accurate designs, the aerodynamic performance must be predicted correctly, including the effects of vehicle shape change, gas-surface interactions, and material response. The present state-of-the-art for modeling these high-temperature hypersonic flows relies on simplified internal energy relaxation models and chemical kinetics data of dubious quality. Furthermore, current gas-surface interaction modeling is rooted in out-dated concepts and equilibrium gas assumptions that are not valid for future Air Force hypersonic missions.

The modeling of high-temperature gas flows over realistic vehicle surfaces requires expertise from a wide variety of disciplines. Our research team unites leading researchers with expertise spanning the range from detailed quantum chemistry and molecular beam experiments to the large-scale computational simulation and ground testing of full vehicles at duplicated flight conditions. We can perform unique simulations and experiments at the most detailed atomistic levels, and pass this information across the length and time scales to advanced molecular dynamics calculations and then to state-of-the-art continuum computational fluid dynamics simulations. We are proposing experiments that will, for the first time, provide detailed data at realistic flight conditions for the validation of both gas-phase and gas-surface interaction models.