Active Flow Control Laboratory
The Active Flow Control Laboratory is an experimental facility for the development and testing of flow control technologies supporting internal aerothermodynamic improvements in turbomachinery.
Flow Control is a fluid dynamics technology which is being exploited to improve the performance of aerodynamic surfaces under widely varying conditions. Many of these technologies are becoming common on present day aircraft as passive devices in the form of vortex generators on the upper surface of wings and the vertical winglets seen at the wing tips. Inside a gas turbine engine the thermodynamics must be considered as well as the aerodynamics, hence the term “aerothermodynamics” is used. On the internal flow surfaces of the engine there are many potential flow control opportunities which are being explored. These technologies are focused on improving performance, increasing operability, and lowering engine noise. The tangible benefits to the public are improved fuel efficiency with lower emissions, improved vehicle safety, less noise in the environment, and lower cost of air travel.
Active Control implies that a technology is applied in response to a condition. In active flow control the intent is to apply the control device when needed, thereby gaining the desired improvement. When not required, the control is not applied, and does not detract from the natural performance of the flow surfaces in the engine. In other words, there is little or no penalty to be paid for employing the technology, but major benefits when it is used. Sensing the flow condition is also a major factor in closed loop control.
The Active Flow Control Laboratory is used to develop and test miniaturized actuation devices which will ultimately be embedded within the components of a turbine engine. These devices may take on many forms and use different physical mechanisms to energize the flow through and engine, thereby correcting flow defects and improving the overall performance. In order to evaluate these actuation devices the lab contains a low speed wind tunnel and a large array of precision instrumentation. The laboratory serves as a small, low cost environment to develop, evaluate, and optimize technologies in preparation for testing in the larger turbine component rig facilities.
Phone: (216) 433-3797