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theoretical basis for finite difference extrapolation of sonic boom signaturesCalculation of sonic boom signatures for aircraft has traditionally followed the methods of Whitham' and Walkden. The wave disturbance generated by the vehicle is obtained by area rule linearized supersonic flow methods, which yield a locally axisymmetric asymptotic solution. This solution is acoustic in nature, i.e., first order in disturbance quantities, and corresponds to ray acoustics. Cumulative nonlinear distortion of the signature is incorporated by using this solution to adjust propagation speed to first order, thus yielding a solution second order in disturbance quantities. The effects of atmospheric gradients are treated by Blokhintzov's method of geometrical acoustics. Both nonlinear signature evolution and ray tracing are applied as if the pressure field very close to the vehicle were actually that given by the source term (the 'F-function') of the asymptotic linearized flow solution. The viewpoint is thus that the flow solution exists at a small radius near the vehicle, and may be treated as an input to an extrapolation procedure consisting of ray tracing and nonlinear aging. The F-function is often regarded as a representation of a near-field pressure signature, and it is common for computational implementations to treat it interchangeably with the pressure signature. There is a 'matching radius' between the source function and the subsequent propagation extrapolation. This viewpoint has been supported by wind tunnel tests of simple models, and very typically yields correct results for actual flight vehicles. The assumption that the F-function and near-field signature are interchangeable is generally not correct. The flowfield of a vehicle which is not axisymmetric contains crossflow components which are very significant at small radii and less so at larger distances. From an acoustical viewpoint, the crossflow is equivalent to source diffraction portions of the wave field. Use of the F-function as a near field signature effectively assumes that the diminution of the crossflow/diffraction component may be applied all at once at the matching radius noted above. This approximation, though not rigorously validated, is responsible for the usual correct far-field results. On the other hand, if an actual near-field signature (either from wind tunnel or CFD data) is used at a starting point rather than one based on th effective source distribution, the predicted far-field signature is generally wrong.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Plotkin, Kenneth J.
(Wyle Labs., Inc. Arlington, VA United States)
Date Acquired
August 17, 2013
Publication Date
July 1, 1996
Publication Information
Publication: The 1995 NASA High-Speed Research Program Sonic Boom Workshop
Volume: 1
Subject Category
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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IDRelationTitle19960055049Analytic PrimaryThe 1995 NASA High-Speed Research Program Sonic Boom Workshop
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