Numerical Investigation of the Behaviour of Circular Synthetic Jets for Effective Flow Separation Control

  • Jue Zhou

    Student thesis: Phd


    Abstract of thesis entitled "Numerical Investigation of the Behaviour of Circular Synthetic Jets for Effective Flow Separation Control" submitted to the University of Manchester for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy by Jue Zhou in 2010.The stringing regulation on greenhouse gases emissions coupled with the rising fuel price and the growth in aviation transportation have imposed increasing demands on the aircraft industry to develop revolutionary technologies to meet such challenges. Methods of delaying flow separation on aircraft high lift systems have been sought which can lead to an increase in the aircraft performance and ultimately a reduction in aircraft operational costs and its impact on the environment.Synthetic jet actuators are a promising method of delivering flow control for aircraft applications due to their ability to inject momentum to an external flow without net mass flux and their potential in being integrated in MEMS through micro-fabrication with relative ease. It has been demonstrated in many laboratory experiments that synthetic jets are capable of delaying flow separation on aerodynamic bodies of various shapes. However, currently the operating conditions of synthetic jets are mostly chosen by trial-and-error, and thus the flow control effectiveness varies from one experiment to another. In order to deliver an effective flow separation control which achieves a desired control effect at minimum energy expenditure, a better understanding of the fluid mechanics of the behaviour of synthetic jets and the interaction between synthetic jets and a boundary layer are required. The aims of the present research were to achieve such a goal through a series of purposely designed numerical simulations. Firstly, synthetic jets issued from a circular orifice into quiescent air were studied to understand the effect of dimensionless parameters on the formation and the extent of roll-up of vortex rings. The computational results confirmed that the Stokes number determines the strength of vortex roll-up of a synthetic jet. Based on the computational results, a parameter map was produced in which three different operational regimes of synthetic jets were indentified and a criterion for vortex roll-up was also established.A circular synthetic jet issued into a zero-pressure-gradient laminar boundary layer was then investigated. The capability of FLUENT in modelling the key characteristics of synthetic jets was validated using experimental data. The formation and evolution of coherent structures produced by the interaction between synthetic jets and a boundary layer, as well as their near-wall effect in terms of the wall shear stress, were examined. A parameter map illustrating how the appearance of the vortical structures and their corresponding shear stress patterns vary as the synthetic jet operating condition changes was established. In addition, the increase in the wall shear stress relative to the jet-off case was calculated to evaluate their potential separation control effect.Finally, the study moved one step forward to investigate the flow separation control effect of an array of three circular synthetic jets issued into a laminar boundary layer which separates downstream on an inclined plate. The impact of synthetic jets on the boundary layer prior to separation and the extent of flow separation delay on the flap, at a range of synthetic jet operating conditions, were examined and the correlation between them was investigated. Furthermore, the optimal operating conditions for this synthetic jet array in the current study were identified by considering both the flow control effect and the actuator power consumption. The characteristics of the corresponding vortical structures were also examined.The findings from this work have produced some further insights of the behaviour and the interaction between synthetic jets and a boundary layer, which will be useful for ensuring an effective application of synthetic jets in
    Date of Award31 Dec 2009
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • The University of Manchester
    SupervisorShan Zhong (Supervisor)


    • Numerical simulation
    • Flow separation control
    • Surface shear stress
    • Laminar boundary layer
    • Synthetic jets

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