Dr Vincent Wheatley

Senior Lecturer

School of Mechanical and Mining Engineering
Faculty of Engineering, Architecture and Information Technology
v.wheatley@uq.edu.au
+61 7 336 52969

Overview

Dr Wheatley's research interests are in the fields of magnetohydrodynamics, hypersonics, and computational fluid dynamics

Dr Wheatley's research in magnetohydrodynamics focuses on the suppression of instabilities that are detrimental to intertial confinement fusion, a process that promises carbon free energy production. In hypersonics, he focuses on extending the capability scramjets to the point where they can power launch-vehicle stages. This technology could meet the need for safer, more economical space access, which has the potential to revolutionise the space industry.

Dr Wheatley obtained his PhD in Aeronautics from the California Institute of Technology in 2005. He also earned an MEngSc (Mechanical) and a BE (Mechanical and Space) from the University of Queensland (UQ). After completing his PhD in the US, Dr Wheatley spent two years as post-doctoral fellow at ETH Zurich. He was then a Lecturer in Aerospace Engineering at the Universiy of Adelaide before taking up his position at UQ in 2009.

Dr Wheatley has expertise in the areas of:

  • Simulation of hypersonic flows (RANS and LES)
  • Using high fidelity numerical simulations, validated by experiments, to provide new details and understanding of scramjet flow physics
  • Mixing and combustion enhancement in scramjets through fuel/flow structure interactions and novel injector design
  • Analysis and simulation of magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) instabilities
  • Numerical methods for MHD
  • Rarefied gas dynamics
  • Bluff body wake dynamics
  • Aeroacoustics, particularly passive noise control for bluff bodies

Qualifications

  • Bachelor of Engineering with Honours, The University of Queensland
  • Master of Engineering Science (Mechanical), The University of Queensland
  • Doctor of Philosophy, California Institute of Technology

Publications

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Grants

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Supervision

View all Supervision

Available Projects

  • Acoustic loads in hypersonic air-breathing engines have been recognized as a serious issue since the 1980s, yet their mitigation remains an open problem. With the successful X51 flight tests at low hypersonic Mach numbers and our success in the laboratory at up to Mach 12, resolving the remaining technical barriers to developing reusable hypersonic vehicles has gained immediate importance. The first step towards effective mitigation or management of scramjet acoustic loads is to develop the capability to accurately predict and understand them. It is this important problem that the proposed research aims to address as part of the 2017 ARC Discovery Project “Acoustic loads on hypersonic vehicles”.

    The primary goal of this PhD project is to conduct Wall-Modelled Large-Eddy Simulation (WMLES) of the supersonic and hypersonic experiments conducted by other students, then through comparison of the numerical and experimental acoustic data, refine the simulation approach and ultimately validate it. Once the simulation approach has been validated, WMLES will provide highly detailed, time accurate data upon which to build our understanding of the sound generation mechanisms in scramjets. The approach will also be able to accurately predict the acoustic loads in other supersonic engines.

  • In inertial confinement fusion, hundreds of terawatts of laser power is used to drive a converging shock wave into a small spherical capsule containing a fuel mixture of heavy hydrogen isotopes. When the shock wave converges at the centre of the capsule, the temperature should exceed 100 million Kelvin and a fusion reaction between the hydrogen nuclei should be ignite. The fusion burn should then propagate outward through the fuel more rapidly than it can expand. However, when the shock impacts on the interfaces between the capsule and the fuel layers, hydrodynamic instabilities are triggered. The first of these is the Richtmyer-Meshkov instability, which occurs when a shock interacts with a density interface. The hydrodynamic instabilities limit the chance of energy break-even or production.

    In the last few years, we have shown that in ideal plasmas, the Richtmyer-Meshkov instability can be suppressed by the application of a seed magnetic field. The extreme temperatures involved in inertial confinement fusion mean the fluids involved are plasmas, so suppressing the instability is possible. Unfortunately, to suppress the instability and maintain spherical symmetry would require a radial magnetic field, which is not attainable. Instead we have studied cases where the instability is suppressed using realistic magnetic fields, with very promising results.

    The results discussed above were obtained using ideal magnetohydrodynamics (MHD), which is one of the simplest frameworks for modelling plasma behaviour. In this project, the suppression of the Richtmyer-Meskov instability will be investigated using the more realistic framework of two-fluid MHD, where the electrons and heavy ions are simulated separately, and the full set of Maxwell's equations are solved to determine the evolution of the electric and magnetic fields. This framework allows a wealth of plasma behaviour that cannot occur in ideal MHD. The crucial outcome of this project will be to determine how these phenomena affect the suppression of the Ritchmyer-Meshkov instability in the presence of a seed magnetic field.

  • Acoustic loads in hypersonic air-breathing engines have been recognized as a serious issue since the 1980s, yet their mitigation remains an open problem. With the successful X51 flight tests at low hypersonic Mach numbers and our success in the laboratory at up to Mach 12, resolving the remaining technical barriers to developing reusable hypersonic vehicles has gained immediate importance. An essential step towards effective mitigation or management of scramjet acoustic loads is to measure them in a realistic environment, providing vital data to validate predictive models. It is this important problem that the proposed research aims to address as part of the 2017 ARC Discovery Project “Acoustic loads on hypersonic vehicles”.

    The primary goal of this PhD project is experimentally measure acoustic loads in a scramjet engine under realistic hypersonic flight and fuel injection conditions in UQ’s T4 Shock Tunnel. This facility can faithfully recreate the flow physics in scramjet engines, including the acoustic environment. The experimental measurement of acoustic waves in shock tunnels is extremely challenging: The impact of the free-piston driver, diaphragm bursting and transient shock reflections produce intense structural vibrations. Test flows at multiple kilometers per second are generated with stagnation temperatures of over 5000 K. Many of the sensors typically used in aeroacoustics cannot withstand this extreme thermal environment. We will overcome these limitations and resolve all waves above 5 kHz by using the focused laser differential interferometer (FLDI) technique. This method has been proven to work in the T5 shock tunnel in Caltech for external flows; this will be the first application to scramjet flows in a reflected shock tunnel. The method will be extended to simultaneously measure perturbations at three locations, enabling acoustic signals to be distinguished from entropy waves. The proposed experimental design will produce a supersonic turbulent reacting flow with features that closely match those in a candidate access-to-space scramjet. Using FLDI to probe the sound field at key points will permit a high-fidelity, time-resolved comparison between experimental and numerical data for validation purposes.

View all Available Projects

Publications

Journal Article

Conference Publication

  • Denman, Z. J., Wheatley, V., Smart, M. K. and Veeraragavan, A . (2016). Fuel injection and mixing in a Mach 8 hydrocarbon-fuelled scramjet. In: 20th Australasian Fluid Mechanics Conference. 20th Australasian Fluid Mechanics Conference, Perth, Australia, (). 5 – 8 December 2016.

  • Wheatley, V., Mostert, W., Bond, D. M. and Samtaney, R. (2016). Local field effects on magnetic suppression of the converging Richtmyer-Meshkov instability. In: Proceedings of 20th Australasian Fluid Mechanics Conference. 20th Australasian Fluid Mechanics Conference, Perth, Western Australia, (). 5-8 December 2016.

  • Moura, A. F., Wheatley, V., McIntyre, T. J. and Jahn, I. (2016). On the development of a Mach 10 scramjet engine for investigation of supersonic combustion regimes. In: The Proceedings of the 20th Australasian Fluid Mechanics Conference. 20th Australasian Fluid Mechanics Conference, Perth, Western Australia, (). 5-8 December 2016.

  • Basore, K. D. , Selzer, M. , Wheatley, V. , Boyce, R. R. , Mee, D. J. , Capra, B. R. , Kuhn, M. and Brieschenk, S. (2016). Performance Comparison of Distributed Injection Methods for Hypersonic Film-Cooling. In: Proceedings of 20th Australasian Fluid Mechanics Conference. 20th Australasian Fluid Mechanics Conference, Perth, Western Australia, (). 5-8 December 2016.

  • Bond, D. M., Wheatley, V. and Samtaney, R. (2016). Plasma flow simulation using the two-fluid model. In: Proceedings of 20th Australasian Fluid Mechanics Conference. 20th Australasian Fluid Mechanics Conference, Perth, Western Australia, (). 5-8 December 2016.

  • Gibbons, N., Wheatley, V. and Doolan, C. (2016). Preliminary Investigation of Sound Generation in Scramjets. In: Proceedings of 20th Australasian Fluid Mechanics Conference. 20th Australasian Fluid Mechanics Conference, Perth, Western Australia, (). 5-8 December 2016.

  • Mostert, W., Wheatley, V. and Samtaney, R. (2015). Characterisation of the cylindrical Riemann problem in magnetohydrodynamics. In: Riccardo Bonazza and Devesh Ranjan, 29th International Symposium on Shock Waves 2. International Symposium on Shock Waves (ISSW29), Madison, WI, United States, (823-828). 14-19 July 2013. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-16838-8_1

  • Gehre, Rolf M., Wheatley, Vincent and Boyce, Russell R. (2015). Combustion regimes in inlet-fueled, low compression scramjets. In: 20th AIAA International Space Planes and Hypersonic Systems and Technologies Conference. AIAA International Space Planes and Hypersonic Systems and Technologies Conference, Glasgow, Scotland, (). 6-9 July 2015. doi:10.2514/6.2015-3507

  • Brieschenk, S., Gehre, R., Wheatley, V. and Boyce, R. (2015). Fluorescence studies of jet mixing in a hypersonic flow. In: Riccardo Bonazza and Devesh Ranjan, 29th International Symposium on Shock Waves 1. International Symposium on Shock Waves (ISSW29), Madison, WI, United States, (617-622). 14-19 July 2013. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-16835-7_98

  • Gehre, R. M., Peterson, D., Wheatley, V. and Boyce, R. R. (2015). Numerical investigation of the mixing process in inlet-fuelled scramjets. In: Riccardo Bonazza and Devesh Ranjan, 29th International Symposium on Shock Waves 2. International Symposium on Shock Waves (ISSW29), Madison, WI, United States, (997-1002). 14-19 July 2013. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-16838-8_32

  • Gibbons, Nicholas, Gehre, Rolf, Brieschenk, Stefan and Wheatley, Vincent (2015). Simulation of laser-induced-plasma ignition in a hypersonic crossflow. In: 20th AIAA International Space Planes and Hypersonic Systems and Technologies Conference. AIAA International Space Planes and Hypersonic Systems and Technologies Conference, Glasgow, Scotland, (1-23). 6-9 July 2015. doi:10.2514/6.2015-3622

  • Barth, James E., Wise, Dylan J., Wheatley, Vincent and Smart, Michael K. (2015). Tailored fuel injection for performance enhancement in a Mach 12 scramjet engine. In: 20th AIAA International Space Planes and Hypersonic Systems and Technologies Conference. AIAA International Space Planes and Hypersonic Systems and Technologies Conference, Glasgow, Scotland, (1-37). 6-9 July 2015. doi:10.2514/6.2015-3614

  • Wheatley, V., Gehre, R. M., Samtaney, R. and Pullin, D. I. (2015). The magnetohydrodynamic Richtmyer-Meshkov instability: the oblique field case. In: Riccardo Bonazza and Devesh Ranjan, Proceedings of the 29th International Symposium on Shock Waves (ISSW29). International Symposium on Shock Waves, Madison, WI, United States, (1107-1112). 14-19 July 2013. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-16838-8_50

  • Brieschenk, Stefan, Pontalier, Quentin, Duffaut, Alexandre, Denman, Zachary J., Veeraravagan, Anand, Wheatley, Vincent and Smart, Michael K. (2014). Characterization of a spark ignition system for flameholding cavities. In: 45th AIAA Plasmadynamics and Lasers Conference. 45th AIAA Plasmadynamics and Lasers Conference 2014, Atlanta, United States, (). 16-20 June 2014. doi:10.2514/6.2014-2242

  • Basore, K., Wheatley, V., Boyce, R. R. and Starkey, R. (2014). Equivalent direct connect free-stream shock tunnel conditions for injection locations in an axisymmetric scramjet. In: Harun Chowdhury and Firoz Alam, Proceedings of the 19th Australasian Fluid Mechanics Conference. 19th Australasian Fluid Mechanics Conference, Melbourne, VIC, Australia, (113.1-113.4). 8-11 December 2014.

  • Denman, Zachary J., Brieschenk, Stefan, Veeraragavan, Anand, Wheatley, Vincent and Smart, Michael K. (2014). Experimental design of a cavity flameholder in a Mach 8 Shape-Transitioning Scramjet. In: 19th AIAA International Space Planes and Hypersonic Systems and Technologies Conference. 19th AIAA International Space Planes and Hypersonic Systems and Technologies Conference, Atlanta, GA, United States, (1-11). 16-20 June 2014. doi:10.2514/6.2014-2953

  • Mostert, W., Wheatley, V., Samtaney, R. and Pullin, D. I. (2014). Influence of a seed magnetic field on the imploding cylindrical Richtmyer-Meshkov instability in magnetohydrodynamics. In: Harun Chowdhury and Firoz Alam, Proceedings of the 19th Australasian Fluid Mechanics Conference. 19th Australasian Fluid Mechanics Conference, Melbourne, VIC, Australia, (488.1-488.4). 8-11 December 2014.

  • Barth, James E., Wheatley, Vincent and Smart, Michael K. (2014). Inlet fuel injection in a mach 12 shape-transitioning scramjet. In: Proceedings of: 52nd AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting - AIAA Science and Technology Forum and Exposition, SciTech 2014. 52nd AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting, National Harbor, MD, United States, (1-26). 13-17 January 2014. doi:10.2514/6.2014-1159

  • Bilgi, P., Wheatley, V., Samtaney, R. and Barth, J. E. (2014). Irregular shock refraction in magnetohydrodynamics. In: Harun Chowdhury and Firoz Alam, Proceedings of the 19th Australasian Fluid Mechanics Conference. 19th Australasian Fluid Mechanics Conference, Melbourne, VIC, Australia, (299.1-299.4). 8-11 December 2014.

  • Landsberg, W. O., Barth, J. E., Veeraragavan, A., Wheatley, V. and Smart, M. K. (2014). Tailored fuel injection within a Mach 12 shape transitioning scramjet. In: Harun Chowdhury and Firoz Alam, Proceedings of the 19th Australasian Fluid Mechanics Conference. 19th Australasian Fluid Mechanics Conference, Melbourne, VIC, Australia, (288.1-288.4). 8-11 December 2014.

  • Petty, David J., Wheatley, V. and Smart, M. K. (2012). A parametric study of oxygen enriched scramjet combustion. In: Wayne Short and Iver Cairns, Proceedings of the 11th Australian Space Science Conference. 11th Australian Space Science Conference, Canberra, Australia, (327-338). 26 - 29 September 2011.

  • Bond, D. M., Wheatley, V., Macrossan, M. N. and Goldsworthy, M. (2012). Arbitrarily high-order BGK-Shakhov method for the simulation of micro-channel flows. In: P. A Brandner and B. W Pearce, Proceedings of the 18th Australasian Fluid Mechanics Conference. 18th Australasian Fluid Mechanics Conference, Launceston, Australia, (). 3 - 7 December 2012.

  • Bond, D. M., Macrossan, M. N. and Wheatley, V. (2012). Comparison of discrete BGK-Shakhov System with DSMC. In: Michel Mareschal and Andres Santos, 28th International Symposium On Rarefied Gas Dynamics 2012, Vols. 1 and 2. 28th International Symposium on Rarefied Gas Dynamics (RGD), Zaragoza Spain, (350-357). 09-13 July 2012. doi:10.1063/1.4769540

  • Barth, James E., Wheatley, Vincent and Smart, Michael K. (2012). Effects of ethylene combustion in a hypersonic turbulent boundary layer. In: Wayne Short and Iver Cairns, Proceedings of the 11th Australian Space Science Conference. 11th Australian Space Science Conference, Canberra, Australia, (313-325). 26 - 29 September 2011.

  • Barth, James E., Wheatley, Vincent, Smart, Michael K., Petty, David J. and Basore, Kevin D. (2012). Flow physics inside a shape-transitioning scramjet engine. In: Proceedings of the 18th AIAA/3AF International Space Planes and Hypersonic Systems and Technologies Conference. 18th AIAA/3AF International Space Planes and Hypersonic Systems and Technologies Conference, Tours, France, (). 24-28 September 2012. doi:10.2514/6.2012-5888

  • Peterson, David M., Boyce, Russell R. and Wheatley, Vincent (2012). Hybrid reynolds-averaged and large-eddy simulation of mixing in an axisymmetric scramjet. In: Proceedings of the 18th AIAA/3AF International Space Planes and Hypersonic Systems and Technologies Conference. 18th AIAA/3AF International Space Planes and Hypersonic Systems and Technologies Conference, Tours, France, (). 24-28 September 2012. doi:10.2514/6.2012-5902

  • Pudsey, Adrian S., Boyce, Russell R. and Wheatley, Vincent (2012). Hypersonic viscous drag reduction via multi-porthole injector arrays. In: Proceedings of the 18th AIAA/3AF International Space Planes and Hypersonic Systems and Technologies Conference. 18th AIAA/3AF International Space Planes and Hypersonic Systems and Technologies Conference, Tours, France, (). 24-28 September 2012. doi:10.2514/6.2012-5934

  • Brieschenk, Stefan, Gehre, Rolf M., Wheatley, Vincent, Boyce, Russell R., Kleine, Harald and O’Byrne, Sean (2012). Jet interaction in a hypersonic flow: a comparison between plif thermometry and computational simulation. In: I. Grant, ICAS 2012 CD-ROM Proceedings. 28th International Congress of the Aeronautical Sciences (ICAS 2012), Brisbane, Australia, (1-10). 23 - 28 September 2012.

  • Gehre, R. M., Wheatley, V., Boyce, R. R., Peterson, D. M. and Brieschenk, S. (2012). Reynolds-averaged Navier–Stokes and wall–modelled large–eddy simulations of sonic hydrogen injection into hypersonic crossflow. In: P. A. Brandner and B. W. Pearce, Proceedings of the 18th Australasian Fluid Mechanics Conference. 18th Australasian Fluid Mechanics Conference, Launceston, Australia, (). 3-7 December, 2012.

  • Barth, James E., Wheatley, Vincent and Smart, Michael K. (2012). Streamwise porthole fuel injection for boundary-layer combustion inside a scramjet engine. In: I. Grant, ICAS 2012 CD-ROM Proceedings. 28th International Congress of the Aeronautical Sciences (ICAS 2012), Brisbane, Australia, (2934-2941). 23 - 28 September 2012.

  • Mostert, W., Wheatley, V., Hingee, M. and Samtaney, R. (2012). The Cylindrical Riemann Problem in magnetohydrodynamics: a case study. In: P. A. Brandner and B. W. Pearce, Proceedings of the 18th Australasian Fluid Mechanics Conference. 18th Australasian Fluid Mechanics Conference, Launceston, Australia, (). 3-7 December 2012.

  • Wheatley, V., Samtaney, R. and Pullin, D. I. (2012). The magnetohydrodynamic Richtmyer-Meshkov instability: the transverse field case. In: P. A. Brandner and B. W. Pearce, Proceedings of the 18th Australasian Fluid Mechanics Conference. 18th Australasian Fluid Mechanics Conference, Launceston, Australia, (). 3 - 7 December 2012.

  • Gehre, Rolf M., Wheatley, Vincent and Boyce, Russell R. (2012). Thermal non-equilibrium effects in radical farming scramjets. In: I. Grant, ICAS 2012 CD-ROM Proceedings. 28th International Congress of the Aeronautical Sciences (ICAS 2012), Brisbane, Australia, (1-9). 23 - 28 September 2012.

  • Ali, Mohamed Sukri Mat Ali, Doolan, Con J. and Wheatley, Vincent (2011). Aeolian tones generated by a square cylinder with a detached flat plate. In: 17th AIAA/CEAS Aeroacoustics Conference (32nd AIAA Aeroacoustics Conference). 17th AIAA/CEAS Aeroacoustics Conference (32nd AIAA Aeroacoustics Conference), Portland, OR, United States, (1-25). 5-8 June 2011.

  • Harrland, Alan, Doolan, Con, Wheatley, Vincent and Froning, Dave (2011). Hypersonic inlet for a laser powered propulsion system. In: Hans-Albert Eckel and Stefan Scharring, AIP conference proceedings: Beamed Energy Propulsion: Seventh International Symposium. 7th International Symposium on Beamed Energy Propulsion, Ludwigsburg, Germany, (145-157). 10 -14 April 2011. doi:10.1063/1.3657023

  • Wheatley, V., Kumar, H. and Jeltsch, R. (2011). Spectral Performance of RKDG methods for Ideal MHD. In: Mathematics in Industry 2010, Sofia, Bulgaria, (257-276). 11-13 July 2010.

  • Ali, Mohamed Sukri Mat, Doolan, Con J. and Wheatley, Vincent (2010). Aeolian tones generated by a square cylinder with a splitter plate. In: Marion Burgess, John Davey, Charles Don and Terry McMinn, Proceedings of 20th International Congress on Acoustics, ICA 2010. 20th International Congress on Acoustics, Sydney, NSW, Australia, (1-8). 23-27 August 2010.

  • Ali, Mohamed Sukri Mat, Doolan, Con J. and Wheatley, Vincent (2010). Flow around a square cylinder with a detached downstream flat plate at a low Reynolds number. In: 17th Australasian Fluid Mechanics Conference 2010. 17th Australasian Fluid Mechanics Conference, Auckland, New Zealand, (308-311). 5-9 December 2010.

  • Wheatley, V. and Jacobs, P. A. (2010). Fuel injection via rectangular cross-section injectors for mixing enhancement in scramjets. In: Proceedings of the Seventeenth Australasian Fluid Mechanics Conference. 17th Australasian Fluid Mechanics Conference, Auckland, New Zealand, (791-794). 5-9 December 2010.

  • Harrland, Alan, Doolan, Con and Wheatley, Vincent (2010). Hypersonic inlet for a laser powered propulsion system and its interaction with an idealized laser induced detonation wave. In: Wayne Short and Iver Cairns, Proceedings of the 10th Australian Space Sciences Conference. 10th Australian Space Sciences Conference, Brisbane, Australia, (). 27-30 September 2010.

  • Petty, D., Smart, M. K., Wheatley, V. and Razzaqi, S. A. (2010). Simulation of hypervelocity scramjet combustion with oxygen enrichment. In: Wayne Short and Iver Cairns, 10th Australian Space Sciences Conference, Brisbane, Australia, (). 27-30 September 2010.

  • Ali, Mohamed Sukri Mat, Doolan, Con J. and Wheatley, Vincent (2009). Grid convergence study for a two-dimensional simulation of flow around a square cylinder at low Reynolds number. In: Computational fluid dynamics : Seventh international conference on CFD in the minerals and process industries. The 7th International Conference on CFD in the Minerals and Process Industries, Melbourne , Australia, (1-6). 9-11 December, 2009.

  • Doolan, C.J. and Vincent Wheatley (2009). Hypersonic Vehicle Control Using External Burning. In: Klimenko, A.Y., Proceedings of the Australian Combustion Symposium. Australian Combustion Symposium, University of Queensland Brisbane, (231-234). Dec 2 -4, 2009.

  • Hiptmair, R., Hugueniot, P., Jeltsch, R., Kumar, H., Schwab, C., Torrilhon, M. and Wheatley, V. (2008). Numerical simulation of compressible magnetohydrodynamic plasma flow in a circuit breaker. In: International Conference on Numerical Analysis and Applied Mathematics, Psalidi, Greece, (21-22). 16-20 September 2008. doi:10.1063/1.2990896

  • Huguenot, P., Kumar, H., Wheatley, V., Jeltsch, R. and Schwab, C. (2008). Numerical simulations of high current arc in circuit breakers. In: 24th International Conference on Electrical Contacts, Saint-Malo, France, (). 9-12 June 2008.

  • Mattner, Trent and Wheatley, Vincent (2008). Promotion of open and efficient communication in tutorials. In: Education Research Group of Adelaide 2008 Conference, Adelaide, SA, Australia, (1-9). 24-25 September 2008.

Other Outputs

Grants (Administered at UQ)

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

Completed Supervision

Possible Research Projects

Note for students: The possible research projects listed on this page may not be comprehensive or up to date. Always feel free to contact the staff for more information, and also with your own research ideas.

  • Acoustic loads in hypersonic air-breathing engines have been recognized as a serious issue since the 1980s, yet their mitigation remains an open problem. With the successful X51 flight tests at low hypersonic Mach numbers and our success in the laboratory at up to Mach 12, resolving the remaining technical barriers to developing reusable hypersonic vehicles has gained immediate importance. The first step towards effective mitigation or management of scramjet acoustic loads is to develop the capability to accurately predict and understand them. It is this important problem that the proposed research aims to address as part of the 2017 ARC Discovery Project “Acoustic loads on hypersonic vehicles”.

    The primary goal of this PhD project is to conduct Wall-Modelled Large-Eddy Simulation (WMLES) of the supersonic and hypersonic experiments conducted by other students, then through comparison of the numerical and experimental acoustic data, refine the simulation approach and ultimately validate it. Once the simulation approach has been validated, WMLES will provide highly detailed, time accurate data upon which to build our understanding of the sound generation mechanisms in scramjets. The approach will also be able to accurately predict the acoustic loads in other supersonic engines.

  • In inertial confinement fusion, hundreds of terawatts of laser power is used to drive a converging shock wave into a small spherical capsule containing a fuel mixture of heavy hydrogen isotopes. When the shock wave converges at the centre of the capsule, the temperature should exceed 100 million Kelvin and a fusion reaction between the hydrogen nuclei should be ignite. The fusion burn should then propagate outward through the fuel more rapidly than it can expand. However, when the shock impacts on the interfaces between the capsule and the fuel layers, hydrodynamic instabilities are triggered. The first of these is the Richtmyer-Meshkov instability, which occurs when a shock interacts with a density interface. The hydrodynamic instabilities limit the chance of energy break-even or production.

    In the last few years, we have shown that in ideal plasmas, the Richtmyer-Meshkov instability can be suppressed by the application of a seed magnetic field. The extreme temperatures involved in inertial confinement fusion mean the fluids involved are plasmas, so suppressing the instability is possible. Unfortunately, to suppress the instability and maintain spherical symmetry would require a radial magnetic field, which is not attainable. Instead we have studied cases where the instability is suppressed using realistic magnetic fields, with very promising results.

    The results discussed above were obtained using ideal magnetohydrodynamics (MHD), which is one of the simplest frameworks for modelling plasma behaviour. In this project, the suppression of the Richtmyer-Meskov instability will be investigated using the more realistic framework of two-fluid MHD, where the electrons and heavy ions are simulated separately, and the full set of Maxwell's equations are solved to determine the evolution of the electric and magnetic fields. This framework allows a wealth of plasma behaviour that cannot occur in ideal MHD. The crucial outcome of this project will be to determine how these phenomena affect the suppression of the Ritchmyer-Meshkov instability in the presence of a seed magnetic field.

  • Acoustic loads in hypersonic air-breathing engines have been recognized as a serious issue since the 1980s, yet their mitigation remains an open problem. With the successful X51 flight tests at low hypersonic Mach numbers and our success in the laboratory at up to Mach 12, resolving the remaining technical barriers to developing reusable hypersonic vehicles has gained immediate importance. An essential step towards effective mitigation or management of scramjet acoustic loads is to measure them in a realistic environment, providing vital data to validate predictive models. It is this important problem that the proposed research aims to address as part of the 2017 ARC Discovery Project “Acoustic loads on hypersonic vehicles”.

    The primary goal of this PhD project is experimentally measure acoustic loads in a scramjet engine under realistic hypersonic flight and fuel injection conditions in UQ’s T4 Shock Tunnel. This facility can faithfully recreate the flow physics in scramjet engines, including the acoustic environment. The experimental measurement of acoustic waves in shock tunnels is extremely challenging: The impact of the free-piston driver, diaphragm bursting and transient shock reflections produce intense structural vibrations. Test flows at multiple kilometers per second are generated with stagnation temperatures of over 5000 K. Many of the sensors typically used in aeroacoustics cannot withstand this extreme thermal environment. We will overcome these limitations and resolve all waves above 5 kHz by using the focused laser differential interferometer (FLDI) technique. This method has been proven to work in the T5 shock tunnel in Caltech for external flows; this will be the first application to scramjet flows in a reflected shock tunnel. The method will be extended to simultaneously measure perturbations at three locations, enabling acoustic signals to be distinguished from entropy waves. The proposed experimental design will produce a supersonic turbulent reacting flow with features that closely match those in a candidate access-to-space scramjet. Using FLDI to probe the sound field at key points will permit a high-fidelity, time-resolved comparison between experimental and numerical data for validation purposes.