Sensitivity Study of Sonic Boom Ground Signature Using Different Axial Distance Step Sizes for Evaluating Near-Field Overpressure



Sonic boom, supersonic aircraft, sensitivity analysis


To study the feasibility of supersonic commercial airliners, it is essential to better understand the impact of sonic boom caused by the aircraft. For simplicity, a general supersonic airliner concept by Smith et al. was used to conduct this analysis. Using an aircraft model created using Autodesk’s Fusion 360 CAD program, the effects of the aircraft volume and lift in the near- field of the aircraft was determined using a custom MATLAB script developed in-house. The near-field overpressure was then propagated using NASA’s PC Boom program to determine the ground signature of the airliner. Furthermore, a sensitivity analysis for the geometric and lift properties was conducted. It was determined that an axial step-size of 1.2 m yields the best results for creating the full ground signature propagated by PC Boom and using this step size also has better computation times compared to smaller step-sizes. It was also observed that smaller step sizes for analysis caused noisier data to be produced which may have limited how PC Boom propagates the near-field results as smaller step-sizes have more incomplete ground signatures. Finally, it was determined that a sufficiently large step-size causes the signature propagated by PC Boom to form a different shape compared to step-sizes less than 1.2 m, which should not be considered.

Author Biography

Dr., Carleton University

Dr. Joana Rocha is an Associate Professor and Associate Chair in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Carleton University, in Ottawa. Before joining Carleton University, Dr. Rocha was a Visiting Researcher at NASA Langley Research Centre and the National Institute of Aerospace, in Virginia, USA. She received her Ph.D. and M.A.Sc. degrees at the University of Victoria, in Victoria, where her research focused on the development of models for the prediction of flow-induced noise in aircraft. Since joining Carleton University as a Professor in 2012, Dr. Rocha has established the Aeroacoustics Research Laboratory, with unique capabilities. The aeroacoustic high-speed wind tunnel allows Dr. Rocha and her team to develop state-of-the-art research in areas such as aircraft noise prediction and reduction. Dr. Rocha’s research focuses on aircraft noise prediction, design and optimization of aircraft structures for noise reduction, aeroacoustics, turbulent-flow induced noise, structural-acoustics, and turbulence modelling with applications in aerospace. Through her research, Dr. Rocha aims to design and develop new aircraft concepts that are quieter.



How to Cite

Rocha J, Tamayo J. Sensitivity Study of Sonic Boom Ground Signature Using Different Axial Distance Step Sizes for Evaluating Near-Field Overpressure. Canadian Acoustics [Internet]. 2022 Dec. 11 [cited 2023 Feb. 2];50(2). Available from:



Article - Aeroacoustics

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