ORCID Identifier(s)


Graduation Semester and Year




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Aerospace Engineering


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

First Advisor

Luca Maddalena


The scramjet engine offers the unique capability to enable sustained airbreathing flight at hypersonic speeds. However, in order to reach its full application potential, further technological maturation of several system level components is necessary. One such component is the fuel injection system. The flow conditions characteristic of the scramjet combustor are such that the rate-limiting step in the fuel injection/mixing/combustion process is the mixing of the fuel and air. For this reason, the fuel injection system must be designed with the goal of enhancing the rate of fuel/air mixing. One method that has shown potential to enhance fuel/air mixing in supersonic flows is the introduction of streamwise vorticity into the mixing field, yet there are many fundamental aspects of this concept that remain relatively uninvestigated. One such aspect is the capability to use specific streamwise vortex interaction modes to synergistically increase mixing in the flow. However, in order to target specific vortex interactions which act to enhance mixing in the design stage of a fuel injection system a better foundational knowledge of streamwise vortex interactions in supersonic flows must be obtained. To this end, this dissertation presents a fundamental experimental investigation into two elemental modes of vortex interaction, the merging and non-merging of a pair of co-rotating streamwise vortices. The experimental investigations were all conducted at the University of Texas at Arlington Aerodynamics Research Center in the blow-down Supersonic Wind Tunnel Facility which delivered a Mach 2.5 freestream flow for all of the experiments detailed herein. To create the targeted vortex interaction modes specific configurations of vortex generating ramps were affixed to the trailing edge of a strut injector. The experiments detailed in this dissertation accomplish two tasks in the continuation of the group's previous research on the merging and non-merging modes of streamwise vortex interaction. The first task that will be presented is the analysis of the fluctuating velocity flowfields of the two studied vortex interactions with the proper orthogonal decomposition (POD) technique. This analysis is approached in order to quantify the organization and relative turbulent kinetic energy content of the various scales of turbulent coherent structures of the flow. The results of the POD analysis revealed that the vortex merging process reorients and redistributes the turbulent kinetic energy content towards the larger coherent structures captured in the low-order eigenmodes of the POD. The second task presented in this dissertation is the non-intrusive laser-based quantification of the mixing performance of the two vortex interactions using the filtered Rayleigh scattering (FRS) technique. Applying the FRS technique to retrieve mixture composition measurements in highly complex flows such as the flows studied here is a nontrivial task. For this reason, experiments were initially performed in a canonical two-dimensional planar shear layer to compare the relative accuracy of filtered Rayleigh scattering measurements with intrusive gas-sampling based mixture composition measurements. With this comparison yielding good levels of agreement between the two techniques, the FRS technique was able to be confidently applied in the vortical flows of primary interest. The main conclusion obtained from the FRS experiments was the finding that the non-merging vortex interaction more rapidly mixes the fuel and air due to its increased rate of entrainment with respect to the merging vortex interaction. Taken together, the results of the two analyses presented in this dissertation highlight the necessity of considering streamwise vortex interactions in the design stage of scramjet fuel injection systems since all differences in the flowfields of the two studied cases arise solely due to the different vortex interaction modes generated. Most importantly, this work has laid the foundation for future fundamental vortex dynamics studies which seek to optimize these (and other) modes of interaction by using the analysis and measurement techniques described herein.


Vortex dynamics, Mixing, Supersonic flow, Non-intrusive diagnostics


Aerospace Engineering | Engineering | Mechanical Engineering


Degree granted by The University of Texas at Arlington