Vanstone, Lingren, Clemens photos
From left to right, authors of the winning 2018 AIAA High Speed Air Breathing Propulsion Best Paper award: Dr. Leon Vanstone, Joe Lingren and Professor Noel Clemens

Professor Noel Clemens, along with authors Dr. Leon Vanstone and Joe Lingren, have been awarded the AIAA High Speed Air Breathing Propulsion Best Paper award for their technical paper, “Supersonic Isolator Shock-Train Dynamics: Simple Physics-Based Model for Closed Loop Control of Shock Train Location,” which was presented at the 2018 AIAA SciTech Forum and Exposition.

According to Clemens, his group has developed a model that helps predict the location of the shock wave within the isolator section of a dual-mode scramjet engine. A scramjet engine is an advanced engine that will propel the next generation of hypersonic vehicles—aircraft that are capable of traveling more than five times the speed of sound.

“Being able to predict the shock system location can enable us to reduce the occurrence of ‘unstart,’ a deleterious process where the shock system is disgorged from the inlet,” Clemens said. “It is all the more impressive that this work was part of a research project that was being conducted by Joe Lingren, who was an undergraduate student at the time. Joe conducted extensive experiments and developed the model, working under the direction of Dr. Leon Vanstone, a research associate in the Center for Aeromechanics Research. It is great to see such a successful project resulting from undergraduate research.”

Clemens says the research could lead to improved control of dual-mode scramjet engines, advancing the next generation of hypersonic vehicles which could allow for travel across the globe in record time.

Learn more about Clemens’ research: https://sites.utexas.edu/clemens/

hypersonic air vehicle illustration

This Air Force illustration depicts the X-51A Waverider scramjet vehicle in hypersonic flight. Credit United States Air Force