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Parametric Inlet Tested in Glenn's 10- by 10-Foot Supersonic Wind TunnelThe Parametric Inlet is an innovative concept for the inlet of a gas-turbine propulsion system for supersonic aircraft. The concept approaches the performance of past inlet concepts, but with less mechanical complexity, lower weight, and greater aerodynamic stability and safety. Potential applications include supersonic cruise aircraft and missiles. The Parametric Inlet uses tailored surfaces to turn the incoming supersonic flow inward toward an axis of symmetry. The terminal shock spans the opening of the subsonic diffuser leading to the engine. The external cowl area is smaller, which reduces cowl drag. The use of only external supersonic compression avoids inlet unstart--an unsafe shock instability present in previous inlet designs that use internal supersonic compression. This eliminates the need for complex mechanical systems to control unstart, which reduces weight. The conceptual design was conceived by TechLand Research, Inc. (North Olmsted, OH), which received funding through NASA s Small-Business Innovation Research program. The Boeing Company (Seattle, WA) also participated in the conceptual design. The NASA Glenn Research Center became involved starting with the preliminary design of a model for testing in Glenn s 10- by 10-Foot Supersonic Wind Tunnel (10 10 SWT). The inlet was sized for a speed of Mach 2.35 while matching requirements of an existing cold pipe used in previous inlet tests. The parametric aspects of the model included interchangeable components for different cowl lip, throat slot, and sidewall leading-edge shapes and different vortex generator configurations. Glenn researchers used computational fluid dynamics (CFD) tools for three-dimensional, turbulent flow analysis to further refine the aerodynamic design.
Document ID
Document Type
Slater, John W.
(NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Davis, David O.
(NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Solano, Paul A.
(NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Date Acquired
September 7, 2013
Publication Date
June 1, 2005
Publication Information
Publication: Research and Technology 2004
Subject Category
Aircraft Design, Testing And Performance
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.
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