Rayleigh Flow - Theory


The Rayleigh flow model begins with a differential equation that relates the change in Mach number with the change in stagnation temperature, T0. The differential equation is shown below.

Solving the differential equation leads to the relation shown below, where T0* is the stagnation temperature at the throat location of the duct which is required for thermally choking the flow.

These values are significant in the design of combustion systems. For example, if a turbojet combustion chamber has a maximum temperature of T0* = 2000 K, T0 and M at the entrance to the combustion chamber must be selected so thermal choking does not occur, which will limit the mass flow rate of air into the engine and decrease thrust.

For the Rayleigh flow model, the dimensionless change in entropy relation is shown below.

The above equation can be used to plot the Rayleigh line on a Mach number versus ΔS graph, but the dimensionless enthalpy, H, versus ΔS diagram is more often used. The dimensionless enthalpy equation is shown below with an equation relating the static temperature with its value at the choke location for a calorically perfect gas where the heat capacity at constant pressure, cp, remains constant.

H &= frac{h}{h^*} = frac{c_pT}{c_pT^*} = frac{T}{T^*} \
frac{T}{T^*} &= left^2

The above equation can be manipulated to solve for M as a function of H. However, due to the form of the T/T* equation, a complicated multi-root relation is formed for M = M(T/T*). Instead, M can be chosen as an independent variable where ΔS and H can be matched up in a chart as shown in Figure 1. Figure 1 shows that heating will increase an upstream, subsonic Mach number until M = 1.0 and the flow chokes. Conversely, adding heat to a duct with an upstream, supersonic Mach number will cause the Mach number to decrease until the flow chokes. Cooling produces the opposite result for each of those two cases. The Rayleigh flow model reaches maximum entropy at M = 1.0 For subsonic flow, the maximum value of H occurs at M = 0.845. This indicates that cooling, instead of heating, causes the Mach number to move from 0.845 to 1.0 This is not necessarily correct as the stagnation temperature always increases to move the flow from a subsonic Mach number to M = 1, but from M = 0.845 to M = 1.0 the flow accelerates faster than heat is added to it. Therefore, this is a situation where heat is added but T/T* decreases in that region.

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