Hypersonic flows

We employ both numerical and experimental approaches to study aerodynamics and heat transfer phenomena encountered by hypersonic re-entry space vehicles with complex 3D geometry.

Advanced experimental techniques are used to investigate the flow physics and develop methods for reducing the adverse effects of shockwave-boundary layer interaction and improving the controllability of hypersonic vehicles. The group has extensive experience in numerical simulations of chemically and thermodynamically non-equilibrium hypersonic flows, heat and mass transfer in free-molecular, transitional and continuum regimes of flows which also incorporate turbulence, chemical reactions and radiation.

Our research is carried out in close collaboration with TsAGI (Central Aerohydrodynamic Institute) and Moscow Institute of Physics & Technology.

Research focus

  • Application of structured and unstructured grids (prisms, pyramids, hexahedrons, tetrahedrons) for complex 3D configurations
  • Numerical modeling of laminar-turbulent transition in hypersonic flows
  • Numerical modeling of equilibrium & non-equilibrium chemical processes and rarefied gases
  • Development of high-performance algorithms based on domain decomposition
  • Development of advanced flow visualization and measurement techniques for hypersonic flow applications
  • Investigation of flow physics of shockwave-boundary layer interactions and associated heat transfer phenomena
  • Control of shockwave-boundary layer interactions using both passive and active flow control technologies


The applications of our research include the design and optimisation of

  • Hypersonic re-entry space vehicles
  • Engine inlets of hypersonic air breathing vehicles


Related projects

  • Between 2011 and 2013, Dr S Utyuzhnikov was the Academic Advisor at the Hypersonic Laboratory supported by a £3m grant from the Russian Government for attracting world-leading scientists to top Russian universities.
  • Research collaboration with TsAGI and Moscow Institute of Physics & Technology (MIPT).


We have a blow-down hypersonic wind tunnel which is capable of delivering a steady hypersonic flow at M=4, 5 and 6 with a run time of about 7 seconds. The wind tunnel is equipped with:

  • A model mounting string which allows the measurement of aerodynamic forces on a model at a range of incidence angles
  • High-speed Schlieren visualisation system
  • Full-surface temperature and pressure measurement systems (temperature- and pressure-sensitive paints)
  • 2D PIV system.

In-house CFD codes have been developed to enable:

  • High accuracy approximation of governing equations for complex geometries
  • Use of different formats for computational grids (Pointwise, ICEM, lab's generator)
  • Adaptation to different architecture of high performance computers
  • Combined use of very different numerical solvers

Related research

Hypersonic flow specialism is linked closely with the other specialisms including:

Current postgraduate projects

  1. Near-wall domain decomposition for turbulence modelling (Dr S Utyuzhnikov)
  2. Development of RANS models for hypersonic flows (Dr S Utyuzhnikov & Prof H Iacovides)
  3. Experimental study of shockwave-boundary layer interaction control (Dr S Zhong)



  • Utyuzhnikov, S.V., Tirskiy G.A., “Hypersonic Aerodynamics and Heat Transfer”, Begell House, NY, ISBN: 978-1-56700-309-3, 2013.

Journal papers

  1. Utyuzhnikov, S.V., “Towards development of unsteadynear-wall interface boundary conditions for turbulence modelling”, Computer Physics Communications, 2014, 185 (11): 2879-2884.
  2. Garanzha, V.A., Kudryavtseva, L.N., Utyuzhnikov, S.V., Variational method for untangling and optimization of spatial meshes, J. Computational and Applied Mathematics, 2014, 269: 24-41.
  3. Aleksin, V.A., Utyuzhnikov, S.V., “Implementation of nearwall boundary conditions for modelling boundary layers with free-stream turbulence”, Applied Mathematical Modelling, 2014, 38 (14): 3591-3606.
  4. Fedorov, A.V., Ryzhov, A.A., Soudakov, V.G., Utyuzhnikov, S.V., “Numerical simulation of the effect of local volume energy supply on high-speed boundary layer stability”, Computers & Fluids, 2014, 100: 130-137.
  5. Titarev, V.A., Dumbser, M., Utyuzhnikov, S.V., “Construction and comparison of parallel implicit kinetic solvers in three spatial dimensions”, Computational Physics, 2014, 256:17-33.
  6. Titarev, V.A, Shakhov, E.M., Utyuzhnikov, S.V., “Rarefied gas flow through a long conical pipe into vacuum”, Vacuum, 2014, V.101: 10-17.
  7. Bountin, D., Chimitov, T., Maslov, A., Novikov A., Egorov, I., Fedorov, A., Utyuzhnikov S., Stabilization of a hypersonic boundary layer using a wavy surface, AIAA J., 2013, 51 (5): 1203-1210.
  8. Fedorov, A.V., Ryzhov, A.A., Soudakov, V.G., Utyuzhnikov, S.V., “Receptivity of High-Speed Boundary Layer to Temperature Spottiness”, J. Fluid Mechanics, 2013, 722: 533-553.
  9. Brykina, I.G., Rogov, B.V., Tirskiy, G.A., Titarev, V.A., Utyuzhnikov, S.V., “A comparative analysis of approaches for investigating hypersonic flow over blunt bodies in a transitional regime”, J. Applied Mathematics and Mechanics, 2013: 77 (1): 9-16.
  10. Dumbser, M., Titarev, V.A., Utyuzhnikov, S.V., “Implicit multiblock method for solving a kinetic equation on unstructured meshes”, Comput. Math. & Math. Phys., 2013, 53 (5): 601-615.
  11. Titarev, V.A., Utyuzhnikov, S.V., and Shakhov, E.M., “Rarefied gas flow through a pipe of variable square cross section into vacuum”, Comput. Math. & Math. Phys., 2013, 53 (8): 1221 – 1230.
  12. Yakunchikov, A., Kovalev, V.L., and Utyuzhnikov, S.V., “Analysis of Gas-Surface Scattering Models Based on Computational Molecular Dynamics”, J. Chemical Physics Letters, 2012, 554: 215-230.
  13. Utyuzhnikov, S.V., “Interface boundary conditions in nearwall turbulence modeling”, Computers & Fluids, 2012, 68: 186-191. 
  14. Brykina, I.G., Rogov, B.V., Tirskiy, G.A., Utyuzhnikov, S.V., “The effect of surface curvature on the boundary conditions in the viscous shock layer model for hypersonic rarefied gas flow”, J. Applied Mathematics and Mechanics, 2012: 76 (6): 677-687.
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