Direct numerical simulations of hypersonic boundary-layer transition for a flared cone: Fundamental breakdown

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Direct numerical simulations (DNS) were carried out to investigate the laminar-turbulent transition for a flared cone at Mach 6 at zero angle of attack. The cone geometry of the flared cone experiments in the Boeing/AFOSR Mach 6 Quiet Tunnel (BAM6QT) at Purdue University was used for the simulations. In the linear regime, the largest integrated spatial growth rates ( -factors) for the primary instability were obtained for a frequency of approximately . Low grid-resolution simulations were carried out in order to identify the azimuthal wavenumber that led to the strongest growth rates with respect to the secondary instability for a fundamental and subharmonic resonance scenario. It was found that for the BAM6QT conditions the fundamental resonance is much stronger compared to the subharmonic resonance. Subsequently, for the case which led to the strongest fundamental resonance onset, detailed investigations were carried out using high-resolution DNS. The simulation results exhibit streamwise streaks of very high skin friction and of high heat transfer at the cone surface. Streamwise 'hot' streaks on the flared cone surface were also observed in the experiments carried out at the BAM6QT facility using temperature sensitive paint. The presented findings provide strong evidence that the fundamental breakdown is a dominant and viable path to transition for the BAM6QT conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)341-384
Number of pages44
JournalJournal of Fluid Mechanics
StatePublished - Jun 25 2019


  • compressible boundary layers
  • high-speed flow
  • transition to turbulence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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