Introduction to Compressible Flow

Introduction to Compressible Flow


Photograph of E. Mach showing bullet in supersonic flight.

Course Overview

This course will introduce students to the theory, physics, and academic solutions of compressible fluid flow phenomena. In particular, we will examine the physics of shock waves, expansion waves, Mach waves, isentropic flow through nozzles and inlets, briefly examine Fanno/Rayleigh flow, and additional select topics of the professor’s preference. Illustrations and photographs of the phenomena will be presented. Application of the material will be given in the context of the professor’s research, contemporary developments, and historical perspective. The material will be presented during the lecture, through assigned reading, and available on the class website. At the end of the course the students will possess the foundational knowledge of compressible flow.

Course Description

Course Catalogue: “One-dimensional and quasi-one-dimensional compressible fluid flows. Includes Mach waves, normal shocks, oblique shocks, Prandtl-Meyer expansions, isentropic flow with area change, Fanno flow, and Rayleigh flow.” (Credits 3)

Course Schedule

Week 1: Introduction and Review

Week 2: Introduction cont. 

Week 3: Isentropic Flow of Perfect Gas 

Week 4: Isentropic Flow of Perfect Gas

Week 5: Isentropic Flow of Perfect Gas, Normal shock waves (Reading Ch. 4)

Week 6: Normal shock waves 

Week 7: Normal shock waves

Week 8: Normal shock waves

Week 9: Oblique shock waves 

Week 10: Spring Break

Week 11: Oblique shock waves  Prandtl-Meyer-Expansion fans

Week 12: Prandtl-Meyer-Expansion fans 

Week 13: Compressible Pipe Flow 

Week 14: Compressible Pipe Flow 

Week 15: Transonics / Hypersonics

Week 16: CFD and Exam Overview


Space shuttle reentry picture showing plasma trail