Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Aeronautics and Astronautics

First Advisor

Steven Schneider

Second Advisor

Alina Alexeenko

Committee Chair

Steven Schneider

Committee Co-Chair

Alina Alexeenko

Committee Member 1

Gregory Blaisdell

Committee Member 2

Matthew Borg


Stability analysis was performed with the Langley Stability and Transition Analysis Code (LASTRAC) on a 38.1% scale model of the HIFiRE-5 elliptic-cone forebody to study crossflow-induced transition in hypersonic boundary layers. A resolution study consisting of three grids (30e6, 45e6, and 91e6 points) indicated that the fine grid was sufficiently resolved. Results were largely insensitive to grid resolution over the acreage and near the attachment line. The percent variation in second-mode properties along the semi-minor axis was less than 1% between the medium and fine grids. The variation in crossflow-wave properties was less than 0.04% between the medium and fine grids.

Comparisons were made between crossflow-wave properties computed using quasi-parallel Linear Stability Theory (LST), the Linear Parabolized Stability Equations (LPSE), and surface marching or two-plane LPSE (2pLPSE). Sensitivity to marching path was also explored by performing analysis along Group-Velocity Lines (GVL) and Inviscid Streamlines (ISL). The wave properties were largely insensitive to analysis type and marching path, with the greatest variation near the attachment line. The LPSE-growth rates were as much as 20% greater than LST. Results from LPSE and 2pLPSE were similar except near the attachment line, where 2pLPSE growth rates were about 30% greater. Growth rates for crossflow and second-mode waves computed with 2pLPSE were compared to Spatial BiGlobal (SBG) analysis. Crossflow growth rates agreed well between 2pLPSE and SBG, indicating that the more expensive SBG approach is unnecessary for crossflow computation over the acreage. Second-mode growth rates along the attachment line had similar peak frequencies between the various methods, but 2pLPSE and LST growth rates were as much as 200% and 30% greater than SBG respectively. These results represent the first comparison between SBG and conventional techniques for crossflow waves, and help to define best practices for the use of each technique.

Crossflow-wave computations were compared to measurements made by Dr. Matt Borg in the Boeing AFOSR Mach 6 Quiet Tunnel (BAM6QT). Linear analysis for wave angle, phase speed, peak frequency, and spanwise wavelength agreed well with the experiment for sufficiently low Reynolds numbers. The Reynolds number at which linear theory deviated from the test data was termed the 'linear limit'. A stationary-crossflow N-factor of 8.2 correlated well with the linear limit, as did a traveling-wave amplitude of about 1%. Experimental PSD data was used to identify the onset of turbulence at the downstream end of the model, and the associated stationary-crossflow N-factor based on LST was 9.4. Correlating to the linear limit provides a way to conservatively estimate crossflow-induced transition using LST.

Evolution of the crossflow waves between the linear limit and the breakdown to turbulence was studied using Non-linear PSE (NPSE). By exciting a combination of stationary and traveling waves, naturally excited harmonics grew downstream of the linear limit to amplitudes of about 2% based on peak temperature. The wave angles of these harmonics agreed well with the test data. For reasons unknown, such agreement was not realized for phase speed. Initial-amplitude sweeps were performed for both stationary and traveling waves. Initial stationary-wave amplitude had a strong influence on the peak-harmonic amplitude and location of transition onset, while initial amplitude of the traveling-waves primarily influenced the location of transition onset. This is the first dataset from which detailed comparisons have been made between stability analysis and quiet tunnel data for crossflow waves in both the linear and non-linear stages of evolution. Several of these comparisons serve as validation of LASTRAC for crossflow-wave analysis.

Finally, to aid the comparison of stability analysis to experimental data in general, the sensitivities of crossflow-wave evolution to small-yaw angles and changes in wall temperature were investigated. A yaw angle of 0.5 degrees resulted in a change in N-factor of about 1 between the same point on opposite halves of the geometry. A 15K increase in wall temperature led to a 0.1 increase in N-factor. These results, which are the first of their kind, highlight the sensitivity of crossflow waves to subtle changes in boundary conditions, and serve to emphasize the importance of high-quality test data for which flow conditions are recorded as precisely as possible.