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A study of nozzle exit boundary layers in high-speed jet flows

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posted on 13.02.2018, 09:41 by Miles T. Trumper
The requirement for reduced jet noise in order to meet stringent noise legislation (civil aviation), and low infra-red observability and the use of unconventional exhaust nozzle configurations to improve aircraft survivability and performance (military aviation) is driving research to develop a better understanding of jet development and mixing mechanisms. One option open to the engineer is the use of small-scale model testing to investigate jets flows and provide valuable data for the validation of numerical models. Although more economical than large/full scale testing, additional factors that influence jet development may be present which would not be present at full scale and whose influence needs to be fully understood in order to allow small scale–large scale read-across. One such factor is the nozzle exit boundary layer. Although considerable data exist on the influence of nozzle exit boundary layers on low speed jet flows, current information on high speed jet flows is limited. It was, therefore, the aim of this thesis to extend the current understanding of nozzle exit boundary layers and their influence on the jet development for high speed jet flows through a combination of experimental and computational techniques. A combination of pneumatic probe measurements and Laser Doppler Anemometry (LDA) was used to investigate nozzle inlet and exit boundary layers of simple conical nozzles and the influence of adding a parallel extension piece. The measurements showed that the rapid acceleration of the boundary layer within the nozzle significantly reduced its momentum thickness Reynolds number and changed the state of the boundary layer from turbulent to laminar-like. The addition of a parallel extension to the nozzle exit returned the boundary layer to a fully turbulent state. A low Reynolds number RANS CFD approach was used to investigate the flow within the nozzle. Simulations using the Launder-Sharma low Reynolds number k–ε model revealed that the magnitude of the acceleration within the conical nozzles resulted in the boundary layer beginning to relaminarise. Full relaminarisation was not achieved due to the short axial distance over which the acceleration was sustained. The addition of a parallel extension provided a relaxation region in which the boundary layer could recover from the acceleration to become fully turbulent. Measurements of the jet plume originating from nozzles with laminar-like and turbulent boundary layers showed little influence of the boundary layer shape and thickness on shear layer spreading and jet centreline development.


BAE Systems PLC. EPSRC (grant no. GR/02300852).



  • Aeronautical, Automotive, Chemical and Materials Engineering


  • Aeronautical and Automotive Engineering


© M.T. Trumper

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A doctoral thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy at Loughborough University.