Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department / School

Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Jeffrey Doom


Computational Fluid Dynamics, Non-reacting, OpenFOAM, RANS Turbulence Modeling, Reacting, Supersonic Flame Holder Cavity


One of the next major advancements in the aerospace industry will be hypersonic flight. However, to achieve hypersonic flight, propulsion systems capable of reaching hypersonic speeds need to be developed. One of the more promising hypersonic propulsion systems is the scramjet engine, however, several problems still need to be explored before reliable scramjet engines can be produced, the biggest being keeping the engine ignited. This has led to the use of flame holder cavities to create a region of subsonic flow within the engine to allow combustion to occur. High experimental costs make the use of computational fluid dynamic (CFD) simulations attractive to explore these problems. Numerical simulation is effective but is plagued by high computational costs. The question remains, how can we utilize CFD simulation to quickly develop scramjets? To solve this, an OpenFOAM solver, known as rssFOAM was developed to simulate supersonic combustion using finite-rate chemistry. RssFOAM is used for the simulation of a supersonic flame holder cavity corresponding to a series of experiments from the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL). The effect of the type of turbulence model, size of the chemical mechanism, and geometry used for simulation are explored. These results collected are intended to help with the transition between high-fidelity research-level simulations and lower-fidelity design-level simulations. Results will be compared to experimental data and prior simulation results from the AFRL. The results show that RANS turbulence models are more than capable of these types of simulations and smaller less detailed chemical mechanisms can be used. The results also show that the importance of properly capturing the boundary layer does not allow for inlet geometries to be ignored.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Computational fluid dynamics.
Aerodynamics, Supersonic.
Airplanes -- Scramjet engines.
Propulsion systems.
Cavities (Airplanes)


South Dakota State University



Rights Statement

In Copyright