THEORY OF IONIZED TRAILS FOR BODIES AT HYPERSONIC SPEEDS
RAND CORP SANTA MONICA CA
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The characteristics of the gaseous trail remaining behind a body moving through the atmosphere at hypersonic speeds are discussed. Means are sought for ascertaining those variables that can be measured and used to predict the characteristics of the body causing the trail. The available theoretical and experimental literature is reviewed and the basic aspects of hypersonic trails are presented. In the case of thermodynamic equilibrium, a universal solution is found for the velocity and enthalpy distributions at a station behind the body where the pressure has reached its ambient free-stream value. The thermal-conduction part of the trail is also studied. An analytic solution is found for the case of variable thermal conductivity. The length of the trail based on a minimum ionization level is calculated at different altitudes for an illustrative re-entry. The influence of the trailing shock on the conduction part of the trail is discussed. A preliminary study is also made of the trail under chemically frozen conditions.
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