This paper is concerned with the structure of steady two–dimensional flow inside the viscous sublayer in hypersonic boundary–layer flow over a flat surface in which microscopic cavities (‘microcavities’) are embedded. Such a so–called Ultra Absorptive Coating (UAC) has been predicted theoretically [1] and demonstrated experimentally [2] to stabilize passively hypersonic boundary–layer flow. In an effort to further quantify the physical mechanism leading to flow stabilization, this paper focuses on the nature of the basic flows developing in the configuration in question. Direct numerical simulations are performed, addressing firstly steady flow inside a singe microcavity, driven by a constant shear, and secondly a model of a UAC surface in which the two–dimensional boundary layer over a flat plate and a minimum nontrivial of two microcavities embedded in the wall are solved in a coupled manner. The influence of flow– and geometric parameters on the obtained solutions is illustrated. Based on the results obtained, the limitations of currently used theoretical methodologies for the description of flow instability are identified and suggestions for the improved prediction of the instability characteristics of UAC surfaces are discussed.

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