A Shape‐Morphing Ceramic Composite for Variable Geometry Scramjet Inlets Academic Article uri icon


  • The development of ceramic composites with three-dimensional fiber reinforcement architectures formed by textile methods has led to the potential for active shape-morphing surfaces that can operate in high temperature and variable pressure environments. This technology is of particular interest for hypersonic applications, where SCRAM jet engines require variable inlet geometry to achieve efficient flight over realistic flight profiles and variable flight conditions. The experiments reported here show that significant shape morphing can be achieved and good control of the shape sustained even in the presence of large temperature and pressure gradients. Experiments were carried out using a subscale morphing hypersonic inlet with rectangular cross-section in a Mach 8 wind tunnel facility with a total temperature of 800 K. The upper surface of the inlet consisted of a C-SiC composite plate (0.7 mm thick, 37.5 cm long, and 11 cm wide) connected to five actuators through a triangular truss support structure. The lower surface was a flat plate instrumented with an array of pressure taps along the flow centerline. As the shape varied, the surface contour was reliably controlled for high efficiency, low loss compression. A factor of six inlet area ratio variation was achieved and good agreement with model predictions was observed. © 2011 The American Ceramic Society.

author list (cited authors)

  • Miles, R., Howard, P., Limbach, C., Zaidi, S., Lucato, S., Cox, B., ... Driemeyer, D.

citation count

  • 2

publication date

  • May 2011