On the Influence of Nozzle Geometries on Supersonic Curved Wall Jets

  • Bradley Robertson Welsh

Student thesis: Phd


Circulation control involves tangentially blowing air around a rounded trailing edge in order to augment the lift of a wing. The advantages of this technique over conventional mechanical controls are reduced maintenance and lower observability. Despite the technology first being proposed in the 1960s and well-studied since, circulation control is not in widespread use today. This is largely due to the high mass flow requirements. Increasing the jet velocity increases both the efficiency (in terms of mass flow) and effectiveness. However, as the jet velocity exceeds the speed of sound, shock structures form which cause the jet to separate. Recent developments in the field of fluidic thrust vectoring (FTV) have shown that an asymmetrical convergent-divergent nozzle capable of producing an irrotational vortex (IV) has the potential to prevent separation through eliminating stream-wise pressure gradients. In this study, the feasibility of preventing separation at arbitrarily high jet velocities through the use of asymmetrical nozzle geometries designed to maintain irrotational (and stream-wise pressure gradient free) flow is explored. Furthermore, the usefulness of an adaptive nozzle geometry for the purpose of extending circulation control device efficiency and effectiveness is defined.Through a series of experiments, the flow physics of supersonic curved wall jets is characterised across a range of nozzle geometries. IV and equivalent area ratio symmetrical convergent-divergent nozzles are compared across three slot height to radius ratios (H/R): H/R = 0.1, H/R = 0.15, H/R = 0.2. The conclusion of this study is that at low H/R (0.1 and 0.15), there is no significant difference in behaviour between IV and symmetrical nozzles, whilst at high H/R (0.2), the IV nozzles begin separating whilst correctly expanded due to the propagation of pressure upstream from the edge of the reaction surface via the boundary layer. Consequently, it is shown that symmetrical nozzles of equivalent mass flow at high H/R have a higher separation NPR compared to IV nozzles. Specifically, the elimination of favourable, in addition to adverse stream-wise pressure gradients contradicts the expected behaviour of IV nozzles. The separation NPR for nozzles tested in this study, in addition to past studies is subsequently plotted against the throat height to radius ratios (A*/R). This shows that in fact, no previous experiments have shown a higher separation NPR for IV nozzles compared to symmetrical nozzles of equivalent mass flow. The overall outcome is that neither fixed geometry IV, nor adaptive nozzles are justified to maintain attachment, or to improve efficiency. This is because fixed nozzle geometries designed for higher separation NPR do not show any performance deficit when operating at lower NPRs. However, the throat height could be varied to maximise effectiveness (at the expense of mass flow). The contributions to new knowledge made by this study are as follows: the development of a new method of combining shadowgraph and schlieren images to simplify and enhance visualisation of supersonic flows; the use of pressure sensitive paint (PSP) to study the structure of the supersonic curved wall jet before and after separation; the identification of a clear mechanism for the separation of supersonic curved wall jets, valid over a broad range of nozzle geometries (including a clarification of previously unexplained behaviour witnessed in prior studies); the explanation that reattachment hysteresis occurs due to the upstream movement of the point of local separation at full separation (specifically, this explains why certain geometries such as backward-facing steps prevent reattachment hysteresis).
Date of Award1 Aug 2017
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
Supervisorwilliam crowther (Supervisor) & Matthieu Gresil (Supervisor)


  • irrotational
  • CC
  • FTV
  • fluidic thrust vectoring
  • circulation control
  • jet
  • curved
  • supersonic
  • shadowgraph
  • schlieren
  • wall

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