On the compressible Hart-McClure mean flow motion in simulated rocket motors

Brian A. Maicke, Tony Saad, Joseph Majdalani

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

4 Scopus citations


We consider the compressible flow analogue of the solution known colloquially as the Hart-McClure profile. This potential motion is used to describe the mean flow in the original energy-based combustion instability framework. In this study, we employ the axisymmetric compressible form of the potential equation for steady, inviscid, irrotational flow assuming uniform injection of a calorically perfect gas in a porous, right-cylindrical chamber. This equation is expanded to order Mw4 using a Rayleigh-Janzen sequence in powers of Mw2, where M w is the wall Mach number. At leading order, we readily recover the original Hart-McClure profile and, at Mw2, a closed-form representation of the compressible correction. By way of confirmation, the same solution is re-constructed using a novel application of the vorticity-stream function technique. In view of the favorable convergence properties of the Rayleigh-Janzen expansion, the resulting approximation can be relied upon from the headwall down to the sonic point and slightly beyond in a long porous tube or nozzleless chamber. Based on the simple closed-form expressions that prescribe this motion, the principal flow attributes are quantified parametrically and compared to existing incompressible and one-dimensional theories. In this effort, the local Mach number and pressure are calculated and shown to provide an improved formulation when gauged against one-dimensional theory. Our results are also compared to the two-dimensional axisymmetric solution obtained by Majdalani (Majdalani, J., "On Steady Rotational High Speed Flows: The Compressible Taylor-Culick Profile," Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Series A, Vol. 463, No. 2077, 2007, pp. 131-162). After rescaling the axial coordinate by the critical length Ls, a parametrically-free form is obtained that is essentially independent of the Mach number. This behavior is verified analytically, thus confirming Majdalani's universal similarity with respect to the critical distance. A secondary verification by computational fluid dynamics is also undertaken. When compared to existing rotational models, the compressible Hart-McClure plug-flow requires, as it should, a slightly longer distance to reach the speed of sound at the centerline. At that point, however, the entire cross-section is fully choked.

Original languageEnglish (US)
StatePublished - 2010
Event46th AIAA/ASME/SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference and Exhibit - Nashville, TN, United States
Duration: Jul 25 2010Jul 28 2010


Other46th AIAA/ASME/SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference and Exhibit
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityNashville, TN

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Control and Systems Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'On the compressible Hart-McClure mean flow motion in simulated rocket motors'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this