Effects of Mach Number on Supersonic Wraparound Fin Aerodynamics Academic Article uri icon


  • An experimental Mach number parametric (M [2.15, 3.83]) study was conducted to investigate the apparent rolling-moment reduction with increasing Mach number noted in flight-test experiments. The aerodynamic loading and the surface flow in the fin region of wraparound fin missiles in high-Reynolds-number (ReC 0.3 106 to 0.9 106) supersonic cross streams were investigated using photoluminescent pressure-sensitive paint and surface oil-flow visualizations with fluorescent pigment as the seeding medium. Schlieren photography was used to characterize the fin-generated shock structures. Two curved-fin missiles were tested, one having a solid fin and the other a slotted fin. The fin pressures were integrated for rolling moments; these data confirm the solid-fin missile reduction in rolling moment with increasing Mach number. The slotted-fin missile exhibited a similar rolling-moment Mach number dependence. Analysis of the pressure distributions, surface streamlines, and shock structures indicated that the flow fields experienced very strong and complicated inviscid-viscous interactions and that these interactions had a significant impact on the aerodynamic loading of the fins. Finally, the slotted-fin missile demonstrated the potential for increased roll stability and reduced wave drag.

published proceedings

  • Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets

author list (cited authors)

  • McIntyre, T. C., Bowersox, R., & Goss, L. P.

citation count

  • 10

complete list of authors

  • McIntyre, Thomas C||Bowersox, Rodney DW||Goss, Larry P

publication date

  • November 1998