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Aerodynamic Flow Control


Over the past few decades, a number of aerodynamic flow control technologies have been developed for implementation in various applications. Typical applications include, mixing enhancement, drag reduction, lift augmentation and noise mitigation. A flow control device can be considered passive or active. Passive control almost always involves geometrical modifications, such as vortex generators on a wing of an aircraft for flow separation control, or chevrons on an exhaust nozzle of an aircraft for noise mitigation. Passive control devices are always in operation, regardless of need or performance penalty. Active flow control, on the other hand, involves energy or momentum addition to the flow in a regulated manner. Active control is more desirable than passive control, because it can be turned on or off as needed, but it involves additional effort and cost. Actuators are at the heart of active flow control implementation, and have been the weakest link in the development of flow control technology. The desired attributes of actuators include light weight, low profile, no moving parts, energy efficiency, durability, ease of use, scalability, high amplitude, wide bandwidth, and rapid response. Plasma actuators possess almost all these traits and the researchers at ARC have been at the forefront of the development of plasma actuators and their implementations in various applications.

The aerodynamic flow control group at ARC is by far the most active and productive group in the country with activities in both passive and active control. There are currently seven faculty from Aerospace, Mechanical, and Electrical Engineering pursuing flow control research and development in various applications, working closely with industry, national laboratories and government agencies. Professors Mo Samimy, Jim Gregory, and Jeffrey Bons are working on the development of actuators and their implementation in various applications. Professor Igor Adamovich is working on the development of plasma actuators as well as modeling of plasma actuators and processes. Professor Datta Gaitonde and Jack McNamara are working on the modeling of the actuators and implementation of the actuations into advanced simulations. Professor Andrea Serrani is working on the development of control-oriented models and implementation of models for feedback control. Development and implementation of flow control is an interdisciplinary endeavor and is very much application specific. Therefore, there are strong collaborations among the seven faculty members with many joint projects.

The projects include the development and implementation of various plasma actuators as well as of both conventional and advanced fluidic actuators.