Cover: Sphere Drag in a Low-Density Supersonic Flow

Sphere Drag in a Low-Density Supersonic Flow

Published in: Rarefied Gas Dynamics, Volume 2: Proceedings of the Third International Symposium, 1962 / Edited by J. A. Laurmann (New York: Academic Press, 1963), p. 261-277

Posted on 1963

by Jerry Aroesty

Sphere drag coefficients were measured in the Berkeley Low Density Wind Tunnel at Mach equals 2, 4, and 6, and free stream Reynolds numbers between 10 and 10,000 for both insulated and cold wall conditions. The measurements indicate that sphere drag in this regime is strongly dependent on the Reynolds number behind a normal shock wave, and only weakly dependent on Mach number. In addition, it was found that a decrease in wall temperature/stagnation temperature (T sub w/T sub o) from 1 to 0.26 was accompanied by a 5 - 10% decrease in the drag coefficient. A precision microbalance was used to obtain data for insulated spheres, and a moving model technique was used to obtain data for small spheres falling freely through a wind tunnel jet. These latter tests were performed using both cold and insulated models. The results on insulated spheres at M equal 2 and 4 were in good agreement with the measurements of other investigators. The results of the cold wall tests indicate that for Mach numbers greater than 5 in air, sphere drag coefficients are a function only of T sub w/T sub o and the post normal shock Reynolds number.

This report is part of the RAND external publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.

RAND is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.