Numerical study of active flow control using synthetic jets

Roth, Jeremy
Major Professor
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Aerospace Engineering
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Aerospace Engineering

Active Flow Control (AFC) using synthetic jets (SJ's) is numerically simulated for several simple aerodynamic shapes at high Reynolds numbers using the Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) computer program, CFL3D. AFC is the manipulation of a flow field around a given body in a fluid. AFC is used to improve the resulting flow characteristics bodies produce in regimes of flow separation which result from large pressure gradients. In the AFC device (SJ's) used in this study fluid is periodically displaced from a cavity with an orifice. A SJ relies on the entertainment of the local ambient fluid mass external to the device. Therefore, with the use of SJ's a significant decrease in complexity and weight is possible as compared to other more traditional AFC devices involving mass transfer. The objective of this study is to illustrate how AFC in the form of SJ's can be utilized to enhance the aerodynamic performance of simple aerodynamic shapes such as a circular cylinder, airfoil, and three-dimensional wing in flow conditions which result in boundary layer separation. A flat plate with zero pressure gradient is also analyzed in order to determine the effect of SJ's in the absence of boundary layer separation. In order to provide a fundamental understanding of the enhanced aerodynamic performance an additional investigation of classical boundary layer parameters is performed. Computational results are then presented for the bodies of interest with no AFC and validated with experimental results where available. Secondly, results for the numerical investigations with AFC are presented. The results of this study demonstrate that SJ's enhance the aerodynamic characteristics of the configurations and provide more favorable conditions in those regimes of the flow that are normally highly separated. The present study also revealed that a three-dimensional flow is quite similar in character to two-dimensional flows in the presence of SJ's. Overall, this study illustrates SJ's are effective in boundary layer control, and can be used to improve the aerodynamics of aerospace vehicles.