Simulating hypersonic flow transitions from smooth to turbulent

To break out of Earth’s lower orbit, hypersonic vehicles must reach speeds greater than Mach 5. At these hypersonic speeds, the air particles and gases that flow around the vehicle and interact with the surfaces generate heat and create shock waves that disturb the flow’s equilibrium. New research at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign created a model to simulate and better understand flow transitions.

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