Physical and numerical aspects of the high-speed unsteady flow around concave axisymmetric bodies

Argyris Panaras, Dimitris Drikakis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The axisymmetric concave body is a typical configuration about which shock/shock interactions appear. Various shapes of axisymmetric concave bodies are used in a variety of applications in aeronautics, for example, axisymmetric jet inlets with conical centerbody, ballistic missiles drag reduction by spike, plasma or hot gas injection, parachutes for pilot-ejection capsules. However, it is well known that two distinct modes of instability appear around a concave body in the high-speed flow regime for a certain range of geometric parameters. These instabilities can cause undesirable effects such as severe vibration of the structure, heating and pressure loads. According to the experimental evidence, the unsteady flow is characterised by periodic radial inflation and collapse of the conical separation bubble formed around the forebody (pulsation). Various explanations have been given for the driving mechanism of the instabilities. In the present, merging of the leading explanations is done, and basic rules for the passive suppression of the instabilities are applied, in order to enforce their proposed driving. In addition, the effect of the flow initialisation method on the flow structure predicted by numerical simulations is examined. For certain configurations, bifurcation of the time-dependent flow has been found. This behaviour is explained with recourse to the phenomenon of hysteresis, which is an inherent feature of the examined flows.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-32
Number of pages10
JournalCEAS Space Journal
Issue number1-4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2011


  • CFD
  • Hypersonic unsteady flows
  • Shock/shock interactions


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