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Missile Aerodynamics at Moderate Angles of Attack

This project involves the study of missile aerodynamics at moderate angles of attack. Five free-stream conditions are considered, with the Mach number ranging from 1.45 to 3.5, the Reynolds number, based on the models diameter, ranging from 600,000 to 1.2 million, and the angle of attack ranging from 8 to 14 degrees. The solution is assumed to be symmetric with respect to the vertical central plane, so only half of the missile is considered, and the flow field downstream of the missile is not modeled.

The missile is a high length-to-diameter body, with a nose length of three times the diameter, and the cylindrical afterbody length is ten times the diameter. The computational results are being compared with experimental data, as part of an international research study group under the auspices of TTCP. The missile shape and experimental data were provided by Dr. Walt Sturek.

The mesh used in this study consists of 730,000 eight-node elements, and 760,000 nodes. At each time step, 3,600,000+ coupled nonlinear equations are solved. The picture shows the density in the symmetry plane for Mach number 2.5, Reynolds number 1.2 million, and angle of attack of 14 degrees. The inset shows, for the same free-stream conditions, the static pressure on the missile surface and the pitot pressure in the separated flow field at three axial stations. The mesh generator, flow solver, and flow visualization software (based on Visual3 library) were developed by the T*AFSM.

The image below appeared in the 1995 Calendar of the Supercomputing '94 conference.


1. T.E. Tezduyar and T.J.R. Hughes, "Finite Element Formulations for Convection Dominated Flows with Particular Emphasis on the Compressible Euler Equations", AIAA Paper 83-0125, Proceedings of AIAA 21st Aerospace Sciences Meeting, Reno, Nevada (1983).

2. T.J.R. Hughes and T.E. Tezduyar, "Finite Element Methods for First-order Hyperbolic Systems with Particular Emphasis on the Compressible Euler Equations", Computer Methods in Applied Mechanics and Engineering, 45 (1984) 217-284.

3. G.J. Le Beau and T.E. Tezduyar, "Finite Element Computation of Compressible Flows with the SUPG Formulation", Advances in Finite Element Analysis in Fluid Dynamics (eds. M.N. Dhaubhadel, M.S. Engelman and J.N. Reddy), FED-Vol. 123, ASME, New York (1991) 21-27.

4. G.J. Le Beau and T.E. Tezduyar, "Finite Element Solution of Flow Problems with Mixed-Time Integration", Journal of Engineering Mechanics, 117 (1991) 1311-1330.

5. W. Sturek, S. Ray, S. Aliabadi, C. Waters and T. Tezduyar, "Parallel Finite Element Computation of Missile Aerodynamics", International Journal for Numerical Methods in Fluids, 24 (1997) 1417-1432.