Method of Characteristics — Lesson 6

As we saw in this course, a supersonic nozzle operates at design conditions for only one value of the nozzle pressure ratio. For all other pressure ratios, shock waves are present either inside or outside the nozzle, which are sources of losses. So, it is critical to design the nozzle, especially the diverging section, with utmost care to ensure that the design condition pressure ratio is maintained and flow is shock-free. Before the advent of computational methods, engineers relied on a technique called the Method of Characteristics for designing a shock-free nozzle. In this lesson, we will understand some finer details of this method and look at the basic algorithm that needs to be followed to design a supersonic nozzle.

Alternate video link.

Here are the accompanying handout slides for this lesson.