Active Flow Control of Subsonic Flow in an Adverse Pressure Gradient Using Synthetic Jets and Passive Micro Flow Control Devices

Date of Award

Winter 12-15-2013

Author's Department

Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Type



Several recent studies have shown the advantages of active and/or passive flow control devices for boundary layer flow modification. Many current and future proposed air vehicles have very short or offset diffusers in order to save vehicle weight and create more optimal vehicle/engine integration. Such short coupled diffusers generally result in boundary layer separation and loss of pressure recovery which reduces engine performance and in some cases may cause engine stall. Deployment of flow control devices can alleviate this problem to a large extent; however, almost all active flow control devices have some energy penalty associated with their inclusion. One potential low penalty approach for enhancing the diffuser performance is to combine the passive flow control elements such as micro-ramps with active flow control devices such as synthetic jets to achieve higher control authority.

The goal of this dissertation is twofold. The first objective is to assess the ability of CFD with URANS turbulence models to accurately capture the effects of the synthetic jets and micro-ramps on boundary layer flow. This is accomplished by performing numerical simulations replicating several experimental test cases conducted at Georgia Institute of Technology under the NASA funded Inlet Flow Control and Prediction Technologies Program, and comparing the simulation results with experimental data. The second objective is to run an expanded CFD matrix of numerical simulations by varying various geometric and other flow control parameters of micro-ramps and synthetic jets to determine how passive and active control devices interact with each other in increasing and/or decreasing the control authority and determine their influence on modification of boundary layer flow.

The boundary layer shape factor is used as a figure of merit for determining the boundary layer flow quality/modification and its tendency towards separation. It is found by a large number of numerical experiments and the analysis of simulation data that a flow control device's influence on boundary layer quality is a function of three factors: (1) the strength of the longitudinal vortex emanating from the flow control device or devices, (2) the height of the vortex core above the surface and, when a synthetic jet is present, (3) the momentum added to the boundary layer flow.


English (en)


Ramesh K Agarwal

Committee Members

Mori Mani, David A Peters, Palghat A Ramachandran


Permanent URL: https://doi.org/10.7936/K7B56GP3

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