Flow control fallacies: A review of commonpitfalls in flow control research

W. J. Crowther, M. Jabbal, S. C. Liddle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The practice of flow control is seen as offering hope in reviving the importance of aerodynamics in aerospace engineering. However, as yet, this promising area of technology has arguably had little success in delivering science into practice. This article attempts to understand something of the nature of research in flow control and whether there is anything specific to flow control and aerodynamics that makes progress any harder than for other subjects. As a deliberate attempt to be provocative, the article introduces 10 'flow control fallacies' which explore some of the potential weaknesses in arguments presented by flow control practitioners. It is concluded that flow control research is 'normal science' in the temporal context of scientific revolutions, that the discipline has continuity issues in that it has a relevant historical tail longer than one generation (and a lack of genuinely new ideas), and that it is relatively easy to identify weaknesses in the arguments of flow control practitioners with respect to engineering issues, with lack of relevance being the greatest challenge. © Authors 2011.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages10
JournalProceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part G: Journal of Aerospace Engineering
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2011


  • aerodynamics
  • fallacies
  • flow control
  • history


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