An analysis of base pressure at supersonic velocities and comparison with experiment

Dean R. Chapman
Jul 1950

In the first part of the investigation an analysis is made of the base pressure in an inviscid fluid, both for two-dimensional and axially-symmetric flow. It is shown that for two-dimensional flow, and also for the flow over a body of revolution with a cylindrical sting attached to the base, there are an infinite number of possible solutions satisfying all necessary boundary conditions at any given free-stream Mach number. For the particular case of a body having no sting attached only one solution is possible in an inviscid flow, but it corresponds to zero base drag. Accordingly, it is concluded that a strictly inviscid-fluid theory cannot be satisfactory for practical applications. Since the exact inviscid-fluid does not adequately describe the conditions of a real fluid flow, an approximate semi-empirical second part of the investigation. The semi-empirical theory is based partly on inviscid-flow calculations, and is restricted to airfoils and bodies without boattailing. In this theory an attempt is made to allow for the effects of Mach number, Reynolds number, profile shape, and type of boundary-layer flow. The results of some recent experimental measurements of base pressure in two-dimensional and axially-symmetric flow are presented for purposes of comparison. Some experimental results also are presented concerning the support interference effect of a cylindrical sting, and the interference effect of a reflected bow wave on measurements of base pressure in a supersonic wind tunnel.

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