Date of Award


Degree Name

MS in Aerospace Engineering


Aerospace Engineering


College of Engineering


David D. Marshall

Advisor Department

Aerospace Engineering

Advisor College

College of Engineering


The Air Inlet Method of Characteristics Analysis Tool (AIMCAT), a tool based in Python 3, is developed to model supersonic air inlet geometries during the early phases of design. The method of characteristics (MOC) is used to solve the governing equations for an inviscid, irrotational, isentropic, steady, supersonic flowfield. A comparison is made between modeling shock waves implicitly using Mach wave coalescence and modeling them explicitly using oblique shock relations. Multiple test cases are used to assess the accuracy of the tool by comparing to experimental wind tunnel data. Good general agreement was achieved over the majority of the supersonic portion of the flowfield for all test cases. The implicit shock mesh achieved better accuracy for shock wave positions compared to the explicit shock mesh. However, the explicit shock mesh captured total pressure losses across the shocks which is of value when assessing the efficiency of the inlet. Both approaches show their respective values and their suitability depends on the conditions being studied. AIMCAT has shown initial promise, however further development is need to improve its utility and robustness.