The hypersonic weak-interaction regime for the flow of a viscous, heat-conducting compressible fluid past a flat plate is analysed using the Navier-Stokes equations as a basis. The fluid is assumed to be a perfect gas having constant specific heats, a constant Prandtl number, σ, of order unity, and a viscosity coefficient varying as a power, ω, of the absolute temperature. Limiting forms of solutions are studied for the free-stream Mach number, M, the free-stream Reynolds number (based on the plate length), RL, and the reciprocal of the weak-interaction parameter, (ξ*)−1 = [Fscr ](M, RL, ω, σ), greater than order unity.
By means of matched asymptotic expansions, it is shown that, for (1 − ω) > 0, the zone between the shock wave and the plate is composed of four distinct regions for which similarity exists. The behaviour of the flow in these four regions is analysed.