Supersonic Slender Vehicle Modeling

Student : Ryan Kitson

Sponsor : AFRL


Maneuverable high-speed vehicles push the state-of-the-art in aerospace technology to maximize performance. We consider a representative vehicle with:

  • Unsteady supersonic flow: Aggressive (> 20 g’s) maneuvers lead to very high angles of attack (> 60 degrees) and high angular rates
  • Slender fuselage that increases flexibility and deformation under external loading
  • Nonlinear control system: Jets along the surface for attitude control introduces a complex “jet interaction” with the supersonic cross-flow

This problem results in a coupled fluid-structure-jet interaction that must modeled to analyze the vehicle response. One of the end goals is to further understand the coupled interaction and simulate the vehicle in flight performing aggressive maneuvers.

This video shows the flexible vehicle in free flight with the control jets being actuated. A jet interaction model was developed using CFD to approximate the change in surface pressure. The jets are firing at a frequency, which excites the first free vibration bending mode. All deformation is to scale.