Welcome to the website of Joanna Austin's research group at the Graduate Aerospace Laboratories, Caltech. We experimentally study fundamental problems in compressible fluid mechanics: hypervelocity flight and planetary entry, supersonic combustion and detonation, shock-bubble dynamics, and high-speed geological events. We are part of the Caltech Hypersonics Group carrying out research in the T5 free piston shock tunnel, the Hypervelocity Expansion Tube, and the Ludwieg Tube.

Research Areas

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    Hypervelocity Shock-Boundary Layer Interaction

    Shock-boundary layer interactions can lead to unsteady, potentially extreme, aerodynamic loads, flow separation with loss of control authority, and severe, localized, heating.

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    Blunt Body Aerothermodynamics in CO2 Martian Entry

    The intent to launch higher mass vehicles to Mars for robotic sample return and human exploration requires improved predictive capabilities for aerodynamic and thermal loads.

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    Advancing Transition Experiments in High Enthalpy Flows

    The experimental challenges of both achieving and making measurements to examine boundary layer transition in high-enthalpy hypersonic flows are such that ground-based data are extremely scarce.

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    High-Speed Fluid-Structure Interaction

    Understanding the effects of fluid-structure interactions caused by turbulent boundary layers and shock boundary layer interactions on thin, compliant structures is crucial for developing light-weight, reusable, high-speed vehicles.