Theoretical performance characteristics of sharp-lip inlets at subsonic speeds

Evan A. Fradenburg, D. Wyatt Demarquis

A method is presented for the estimation of the subsonic-flight-speed characteristics of sharp-lip inlets applicable to supersonic aircraft. The analysis, based on a simple momentum balance consideration, permits the computation of inlet-pressure-recovery mass-flow relations and additive-drag coefficients for forward velocities from zero to the speed of sound. The penalties for operation of a sharp-lip inlet at velocity ratios other than 1.0 may be severe; at lower velocity ratios an additive drag is incurred that is not cancelled by lip suction, while at higher velocity ratios, unavoidable losses in inlet total pressure will result. In particular, at the take-off condition, the total pressure and the mass flow for a choked inlet are only 79 percent of the values ideally attainable with a rounded lip. The test specimens were polished and unnotched. The manufacturer of the material, the Aluminum Company of America, has made axial-load tests on 24S-T4 and 75S-T6 rod material. The test techniques used at the three laboratories are described in detail; the test results are presented and are compared with each other and with results obtained on unpolished sheet by the National Bureau of Standards. Experimental data obtained at zero speed with a sharp-lip supersonic inlet model were in substantial agreement with the theoretical results.

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