Flow separation causes aircraft to experience an increase in drag degrading their aviation performance. The current study aims to delay flow separation on an airfoil by embedding a high-frequency translational piezoelectric actuator along the surface of the airfoil. The actuators with two actuation surfaces were embedded on the suction surface of an Eppler 862 airfoil model and placed in a low-speed wind tunnel. Consecutive pictures of the flow fields with dry ice fogs around the airfoil were taken using a high speed camera in order to observe the flow separation phenomenon before and after turning on the high-frequency translational surface actuation. The effects of the actuation on the flow separation were observed at various actuation displacements, angles of attack, and free stream velocities. The operating frequency of the surface actuation was 565 Hz. The measured actuation mean-to-peak displacement ranged up to 0.12 mm at the maximum applied voltage of 150 V. The angle of attack of the airfoil varied from 6° to 24°. The chord Reynolds number was increased up to around 262,000. It was confirmed that the actuation had a very strong influence on the flow separation even at a very small displacement of 0.024 mm remaining significantly reduced separation bubble compared to the one before activating the actuators at 4.3 m/s of velocity and 14° of angle of attack. The flow separation was completely suppressed when the actuation displacement reached around 0.082 mm under the same conditions of flow velocity and angle of attack. This implied that the actuation should generate a strong enough momentum relative to the free stream in order to completely suppress the flow separation. In summary, the study confirmed that the employed high-frequency translational surface actuation had the obvious control authority on delaying or suppressing the flow separation over the airfoil depending on the parameters changed.

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