Compressible Flows

  • Mrinal Kaushik


In our discussions so far, it is assumed that the flow is subsonic, incompressible, and nonviscous. Indeed, it has established our framework of aerodynamic theory for low-speed flight, like the chronicled development of aerodynamics as connected to aircraft design. The incompressible flow theory was sufficient in designing the aircraft till World War I where the maximum speed was in the range of 200–230 \(\mathrm {kmh^{-1}}\). However, during the World War II, the speeds of propeller-driven aircraft were well above 650 \(\mathrm {kmh^{-1}}\), while the speed of jet-propelled aircraft was close to 980 \(\mathrm {kmh^{-1}}\). At these higher speeds, the incompressible flow theory was inadequate in analyzing the flow fields accurately. Presently, in the domain of compressible flow, the density of air could not be viewed as constant which in fact complicates the classical aerodynamic scenario. In this chapter, the reader will be exposed to those vital concepts which muddle the aerodynamic picture.


  1. Houghton EL, Carpenter PW (1993) Aerodynamics for engineering students, 4th edn. Edward Arnold (Publishers) Ltd., UKGoogle Scholar
  2. Liepmann HW, Roshko A (1957) Elements of gas dynamics. Wiley, USAGoogle Scholar
  3. Shapiro AH (1953) The dynamics and thermodynamics of compressible fluid flow, vol 1. Wiley, USAGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Aerospace EngineeringIndian Institute of Technology KharagpurKharagpurIndia

Personalised recommendations