Award Date


Degree Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science


Mechanical Engineering

Advisor 1

Yitung Chen

First Committee Member

Bill Culbreth

Second Committee Member

Andrew Hanson

Number of Pages



Design engineers use a variety of tools to perform calculations and to aid in the design process. For example, engineers designing gas turbines, specifically the aerodynamicists, use a combination of hand calculations, experimental data, and complex numerical codes to simulate air flow around each blade. Aerodynamicists designing gas turbines must predict the locations of the shocks to locate inefficiencies in the flow. In this thesis, three methods of calculating the shock angles are compared: analytical, experimental, and computational. Three different airfoil shapes are tested: a rectangular flat plate, a supersonic diamond, and a turbine airfoil. Cascade tests of the airfoil shapes were also performed. Hand calculations using the compressible flow theory with shock analysis are performed on simplified single airfoil cases. The experimental rig used is a water table apparatus that simulates compressible flow. The different airfoils and configurations were tested in the water table and photographs were taken. ANSYS Fluent, a commercial Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) code, is run on each case. Due to the complex nature of the flow, hand calculations, experimental data, and CFD results are only compared for the flat plate and supersonic diamond single airfoil cases. The results from each method are compared and the percent error is taken to determine the accuracy of each method. All three methods produced results that were in an acceptable range of error for the flat plate. The analytical and computational for the supersonic diamond cases matched up within acceptable error, but the experimental results were off by a maximum of about 40%.


Aerodynamics – Mathematics; Air flow; Fluid dynamics – Mathematics; Gas-turbines


Aerodynamics and Fluid Mechanics | Aerospace Engineering | Applied Mathematics | Computer-Aided Engineering and Design | Mechanical Engineering