Ph.D. Defense: Kenneth Decker

Thu Jun 24 2021 02:00 PM
"A Reduced Order Modeling Methodology for the Multidisciplinary Design Analysis of Hypersonic Aerial Systems"

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Ph.D. Defense

Kenneth Decker

(Advisor: Prof. Dimitri Mavris)


"A Reduced Order Modeling Methodology for the Multidisciplinary Design Analysis of Hypersonic Aerial Systems"


Thursday, June 24th
2:00 p.m. (EDT)
Blue Jeans: (


Recently, the demand for hypersonic aerial systems has expanded across the defense, commercial and civil domains. Due to the high cost and complexity associated with hypersonic flight, progress has been difficult and limited. To mitigate the risk of undertaking hypersonic vehicle design, analysts have heavily relied upon point design methods, which, apart from a few notable exceptions, have produced designs that are heavily derivative of previously existing concepts. An advanced design methodology is needed to meet the demand for an increasingly diverse and complex fleet of hypersonic aerial systems.

Hypersonic aerial systems are tightly-coupled and highly-integrated by necessity. During early design phases, analysts must be able to evaluate system-level performance to determine if designs are feasible, if disciplines can be integrated, and if the proposed system can meet the necessary requirements. When designing novel concepts, analysts lack the historical data needed to evaluate the system using traditional conceptual design techniques and must use a physics-based approach. However, due to the complexity of the underlying physics of hypersonic flows, high-fidelity physics-based analyses are required to generate accurate physical predictions. The cost of performing these analyses render state-of-the-art physics-based design approaches impractical or inadequate in many cases.

This thesis establishes a methodology for leveraging high-fidelity field data during system analysis using field surrogate models. Reduced Order Modeling (ROM) methods are used to represent high-fidelity representations of flow fields in a way that is compact and computationally feasible to evaluate. These ROMs are then used to generate predictive field surrogate models that can replace costly disciplinary analyses in a coupled design environment. Nonlinear ROMs have been identified as key enablers for representing critical features of hypersonic flow fields, such as strong shocks/expansions, and are be evaluated against linear benchmarks. This research seeks to determine the appropriate procedures for generating ROM-based field surrogate models of hypersonic flow fields and synthesize these procedures into a repeatable, flexible methodology. This methodology is then be applied to a coupled hypersonic analysis to assess capabilities and quantify benefits with respect to the current state-of-the-art.



  • Prof. Dimitri Mavris – School of Aerospace Engineering (advisor)
  • Prof. Graeme Kennedy – School of Aerospace Engineering
  • Prof. Stephen Ruffin – School of Aerospace Engineering
  • Dr. Bradford Robertson – School of Aerospace Engineering
  • Prof. John Schmisseur – University of Tennessee Space Institute