Crossflow instability in a hypersonic boundary layer

Stuart A. Craig, William S. Saric

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

81 Scopus citations


The crossflow instability in a hypersonic, laminar boundary layer is investigated using point measurements inside the boundary layer for the first time. Experiments are performed on a 7° right, circular cone with an adiabatic wall condition at 5.6° angle of incidence in the low-disturbance Mach 6 Quiet Tunnel at Texas A&M University. Measurements are made with a constant-temperature hot-wire anemometer system with a frequency response up to 180 kHz. Stationary crossflow waves are observed to grow and saturate. A travelling wave coexists with the stationary wave and occurs in a frequency band centred around 35 kHz. A type-I secondary instability is also observed in a frequency band centred around 110 kHz. The behaviour of all three modes is largely consistent with their low-speed counterparts prior to saturation of the stationary wave. Afterward, the behaviour remains in partial agreement with the low-speed case. Neither type-II secondary instability nor transition to turbulence are observed in this study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)224-244
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Fluid Mechanics
StatePublished - Dec 10 2016


  • boundary layer stability
  • compressible boundary layers
  • transition to turbulence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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