Graduation Semester and Year




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Aerospace Engineering


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

First Advisor

Luca Massa


The unstable nature of detonation waves is a result of the critical relationship between the hydrodynamic shock and the chemical reactions sustaining the shock. A perturbative analysis of the critical point is quite challenging due to the multiple spatio-temporal scales involved along with the non-linear nature of the shock-reaction mechanism. The author's research attempts to provide detailed resolution of the instabilities at the shock front. Another key aspect of the present research is to develop an understanding of the causality between the non-linear dynamics of the front and the eventual breakdown of the sub-structures. An accurate numerical simulation of detonation waves requires a very efficient solution of the Euler equations in conservation form with detailed, non-equilibrium chemistry. The difference in the flow and reaction length scales results in very stiff source terms, requiring the problem to be solved with adaptive mesh refinement. For this purpose, Berger-Colella's block-structured adaptive mesh refinement (AMR) strategy has been developed and applied to time-explicit finite volume methods. The block-structured technique uses a hierarchy of parent-child sub-grids, integrated recursively over time. One novel approach to partition the problem within a large supercomputer was the use of modified Peano-Hilbert space filling curves. The AMR framework was merged with CLAWPACK, a package providing finite volume numerical methods tailored for wave-propagation problems. The stiffness problem is bypassed by using a 1st order Godunov or a 2ndorder Strang splitting technique, where the flow variables and source terms are integrated independently. A linearly explicit fourth-order Runge-Kutta integrator is used for the flow, and an ODE solver was used to overcome the numerical stiffness. Second-order spatial resolution is obtained by using a second-order Roe-HLL scheme with the inclusion of numerical viscosity to stabilize the solution near the discontinuity.The scheme is made monotonic by coupling the van Albada limiter with the higher order MUSCL-Hancock extrapolation to the primitive variables of the Euler equations. Simulations using simplified single-step and detailed chemical kinetics have been provided. In detonations with simplified chemistry, the one-dimensional longitudinal instabilities have been simulated, and a mechanism forcing the collapse of the period-doubling modes was identified. The transverse instabilities were simulated for a 2D detonation, and the corresponding transverse wave was shown to be unstable with a periodic normal mode. Also, a Floquet analysis was carried out with the three-dimensional inviscid Euler equations for a longitudinally stable case. Using domain decomposition to identify the global eigenfunctions corresponding to the two least stable eigenvalues, it was found that the bifurcation of limit cycles in three dimensions follows a period doubling process similar to that proven to occur in one dimension and it is because of transverse instabilities. For detonations with detailed chemistry, the one dimensional simulations for two cases were presented and validated with experimental results. The 2D simulation shows the re-initiation of the triple point leading to the formation of cellular structure of the detonation wave. Some of the important features in the front were identified and explained.


Aerospace Engineering | Engineering | Mechanical Engineering


Degree granted by The University of Texas at Arlington