Experimental and computational investigation of passive surface flow control for aerodynamic efficiency

Souma Chowdhury, Divya Ramesh Vani, Victor Maldonado, Matthew Salazar, Ramin Soujoudi

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


A passive surface flow tailoring methodology, inspired by nature, is proposed and studied, under the long-term goal of achieving greater aerodynamic efficiency and stability for wall bounded flows pertinent to systems such as wind turbines and low-speed small unmanned aircraft. In this paper, passive surface features are designed as ridge-lines parallel to the leading edge of the airfoil/wing, with a cross section given by Gaussian curve(s). Subsonic wind tunnel experiments were conducted with a wing section comprised of the symmetric NACA 0012 airfoil; the experiments were run at different angles of attack for incoming Re of about 1e05-2e05. The experiments showed that promising gains can be achieved for lift-to-drag ratios at low angles of attack and in delaying stall angles by using ridges that are close to the leading edge, in comparison to the baseline wing section with no ridges. On the other hand, CFD simulations conducted (using the FLUENT package) on a NACA 4412 airfoil demonstrated that ridges located further away from the leading edge can significantly delay (by > 10% of chord length) flow separation compared to the baseline airfoil with no ridges (for incoming Re of about 2e05).

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication47th AIAA Fluid Dynamics Conference, 2017
PublisherAmerican Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Inc, AIAA
ISBN (Print)9781624105005
StatePublished - 2017
Event47th AIAA Fluid Dynamics Conference, 2017 - Denver, United States
Duration: Jun 5 2017Jun 9 2017

Publication series

Name47th AIAA Fluid Dynamics Conference, 2017


Conference47th AIAA Fluid Dynamics Conference, 2017
Country/TerritoryUnited States


  • Biomimetic
  • Computational fluid dynamics
  • Gaussian ridges
  • Passive flow control
  • Wind tunnel experiments


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