Year of Publication


Document Type





Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Jamey D. Jacob

Second Advisor

Raymond P. LeBeau


An adaptive wing, a zero mass ux ow control device for low speed airfoil separation control, is investigated both experimentally and computationally at low speeds. The adaptive mechanism in the wings provides variable camber that can be actuated across a range of frequencies and amplitudes. Piezoelectric actuators are housed in a NACA 4415 airfoil with a chord length of :203 m. The entire adaptive wing assembly is then wrapped under a layer of latex membrane to provide a exible and smooth upper surface pro le. Experimental diagnostics include ow visualization, particle image velocimetry, as well as lift and drag measurements. The numerical simulation uses a 2D incompressible CFD code based on a nite-volume structured formulation with a chimera overset grid for the purpose of parallel computing. In the current study, the dimensionless speed range examined is 2:5 104 Re 1:5 105, where particular focus is given to Re 7:5 104, where Re = U` . All experiments and simulations are conducted in the range of attack angles from 0 24 and between reduced frequency values from 0 f+ 1:09, where f+ = f` U1 . Both experimental and computational results show that the region of separation is reduced when the actuation is turned on, thus enhancing aerodynamic e ciency. The maximum coe cient of lift increases by 26% when the reduced frequency, f+, is approximately :2, where the ow control mechanism appears to be most e ective. Phase-locked PIV and CFD vorticity plots reveal that the downward motion of the surface actuation decelerates the boundary ow and increases surface pressure, resulting in the formation of a series of cross-stream vortices that provides uid entrainment towards the suction surface, hence reducing separation.