Aeronautical Engineering (MEng)
Aerothermodynamics of Launchers and Re-entry Vehicles
- To familiarise students with the unique technical and environmental challenges of designing spacecraft capable of leaving and entering a planetary atmosphere;
- To equip students with the knowledge and tools to analyse and design such vehicles.
This course will equip students with the skills necessary to
- Understand the extreme environments experienced by spacecraft during atmospheric entry and apply this knowledge to analyse the aero-thermodynamic performance of aerospace vehicles at hypersonic conditions, including the role of compressible boundary layers and shock/boundary-layer interactions.
- Evaluate existing state-of-the-art designs and technologies for entry-descent-landing missions, based on an appreciation of the advantages and limitations of the various tools and methodologies available for doing so.
- Evaluate the contrasting demands of re-entry missions on Earth and Mars, based on the parameters which affect the trajectories (spacecraft dynamics and atmospheric conditions).
- Analyse the performance of current entry vehicles (including heat-shield technologies) and make appropriate design choices based on defined mission parameters.
- Evaluate new and emerging technologies for future entry-descent-landing missions, including deployable ad inflatable aero-decelerators for high payloads missions to Mars.
- Motivation for access to space incl. historical context;
- Inviscid hypersonic aerodynamics: governing equations incl. definition of continuum and Knudsen number, hypersonic shock and expansion relations, hypersonic similarity parameter, Newtonian theory, with numerous analytical examples.
- Viscous hypersonic aerodynamics (compressible boundary layers): boundary layer equations, special case of thin b-l at high Re, heat transfer and Reynolds analogy, compressible boundary layer scaling, similarity solutions: van Driest, Reference temperature, stagnation point flow physics and heat transfer, viscous interaction, entropy layers, hypersonic boundary layer transition, high temperature gas dynamics incl. real gas effects and basic chemistry.
- Overview of atmospheric entry mission requirements and design philosophy, historical context, with special focus on the challenges of Entry, Descent, and Landing;
- E: Entry vehicle heat shield design: conventional and advanced concepts;
- D: Descent stage aerodynamic (parachute) and retropropulsive (thrusters) decelerators;
- L: Landing technologies: airbags, thrusters, legs, etc.;
- Overview of the re-entry environment: atmospheric composition and characteristics – focus on Earth and Mars (plus Venus, Titan).
- Basic principles of 3DOF and 6DOF re-entry trajectory modelling, including ballistic coefficient, definition of coordinate systems, illustrative examples for lifting and non-lifting geometries, stability.
- Methods for estimating convective heating during re-entry:
- Step-by-step boundary-layer-based method
- Engineering correlations: Chapman, Sutton-Graves
- Case study: Mars EDL for future human missions;
- Shock-wave/boundary-layer interactions: basic physics, prediction of separation, SBLI types and classification, supercritical wings, transonic stall, buffet, SBLI unsteadiness, 3D effects in SBLIs, onset of Regular-Mach transition, flow control for SBLIs.
AERO50001 Aerodynamics 2;
AERO96001 Aircraft Aerodynamics
Lectures and tutorials, with structured tutorial sheets and in-class progress tests
2 hour written examination in January (100%)