Date of Award

Fall 1995

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering


Mechanical Engineering

Committee Director

Gregory V. Selby

Committee Member

Arthur C. Taylor, III

Committee Member

Robert L. Ash

Committee Member

P. Balakumar


One of the primary reasons for developing quiet tunnels is for the investigation of high-speed boundary-layer stability and transition phenomena without the transition-promoting effects of acoustic radiation from tunnel walls. In this experiment, a flared-cone model under adiabatic- and cooled-wall conditions was placed in a calibrated, 'quiet' Mach 6 flow and the stability of the boundary layer was investigated using a prototype constant-voltage anemometer. The results were compared with linear-stability theory predictions and good agreement was found in the prediction of second-mode frequencies and growth. In addition, the same 'N=10' criterion used to predict boundary-layer transition in subsonic, transonic, and supersonic flows was found to be applicable for the hypersonic flow regime as well. Under cooled-wall conditions, a unique set of continuous spectra data was acquired that documents the linear, nonlinear, and breakdown regions associated with the transition of hypersonic flow under low-noise conditions.