The subject of Supersonic Aerodynamics, and indeed of compressible flow generally, is not fundamentally difficult; in fact, some aspects of supersonic flow are appreciably simpler than the corresponding aspects of low speed flow. What makes the subject appear more complicated is the large number of interrelated parameters which are of interest and importance, so that any given relation may be expressed in a large number of equivalent forms. Basically, the aeronautical engineer is largely concerned with the variation of pressure with speed; but in compressible flow, pressure variation implies density variation, and simultaneous variation of pressure and density immediately suggests temperature, the speed of sound, and (with the velocity) Mach number as alternative parameters. Again, many of the ‘constants’, such as the isentropic index y, the specific heats, and the gas constant R, are inter‐related. Since each parameter has its own place and its own field of importance, a multiplicity of forms for a given relation must be accepted; and a handbook in which the important forms are set out for reference becomes essential.
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