Date of Award


Degree Name

MS in Aerospace Engineering


Aerospace Engineering


College of Engineering


Dianne DeTurris

Advisor Department

Aerospace Engineering

Advisor College

College of Engineering


This thesis investigates the capabilities of STAR-CCM+, a Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) software owned by Siemens, in predicting hypersonic heat transfer loads on forward-facing surfaces. Results show that STAR-CCM+ predicted peak heat transfer loads within +/- 20% of experimental data on the leading edge of a delta wing design from the X-20 Dyna-Soar program with 73o of sweep. Steady-state laminar simulations were run as replications of wind tunnel tests documented in NASA CR-535, a NASA technical report that measured and studied the hypersonic pressure and heat transfer loads on preliminary X- 20 wing designs across a wide range of Reynolds numbers and Mach numbers in different wind tunnel and shock tunnel facilities. One of the Mach 8.08 test cases that was run at NASA Arnold Engineering Development Center Wind Tunnel B was selected as the case of comparison for this thesis, which was designated as test AD462M-1 in the original report. The CFD simulations assumed an ideal gas in laminar flow with temperature-dependent viscosity, thermal conductivity, and isobaric specific heat across an angle of attack range from 0o to 30o. A separate CFD study of heat transfer loads of a hemisphere-cylinder at Mach 6.74 was used as a simpler and less computationally-expensive validation case compared against wind tunnel data from NASA Langley Research Center to help select the appropriate CFD solver and mesh settings for this thesis.

For the hemisphere-cylinder, the heat transfer load at the stagnation point was overpredicted in STAR-CCM+ by 21.8%. Peak heat transfer loads on the delta wing leading edge were all within +/- 20% of the wind tunnel data, which was published for angles of attack between 15o to 30o. A more adverse heat transfer gradient along the leading edge of the delta wing was also observed in the direction from the front of the wing to the outer wing tip when compared to wind tunnel data. The pressure loads on the delta wing leading edge in CFD were within +/-10% of wind tunnel measurements.