Application of synthetic jet actuators for the modification of the characteristics of separated shear layers on slender wings

M. Watson, A. J. Jaworski, N. J. Wood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


This paper presents an experimental investigation related to controlling the unsteady characteristics of the separated shear layers occurring over highly swept wings, and in particular focuses on application of synthetic jet actuators for modification of unsteady dynamic loading on the wing surface due to the phenomenon referred to as vortex breakdown (vortex burst). In the post burst flow region the surface pressure measurements reveal the presence of certain characteristic spectral peaks that are thought to represent the presence of a spiralling filament of vorticity inside the expanded vortex that is known to be present in the burst flow over swept wings. This paper details an investigation into how the use of an array of 18 discrete synthetic jet actuators, distributed along the leading edge of a delta wing with a 60° sweep angle, can be used to alter the spectral content of this unsteadiness and reduce the level of unsteady pressure found in the post-burst region toward the wing trailing edge by up to 40%. Measurements of the surface pressure spectral distributions over the wing are presented together with PIV measurements of the vortex cross-section, conducted in the successive planes parallel to the wing trailing edge. Additional surface flow visualisation indicates that the effect of the actuators on the leading edge boundary layer is to induce local separation delays close to each actuator orifice, which introduce 'ripples' into the shear layer as it separates. The results obtained are used to formulate an interpretative hypothesis attempting to explain the mechanisms responsible for modification of the spectral content and the level of excitation measured on the wing surface.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)519-529
Number of pages11
JournalAeronautical Journal
Issue number1122
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2007
Externally publishedYes


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