Date of Award

Spring 1992

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering


Mechanical Engineering

Committee Director

Gregory V. Selby

Committee Member

Dennis M. Bushnell

Committee Member

Robert L. Ash

Committee Member

Stephen K. Robinson

Committee Member

Arthur C. Taylor


The relative performance and flow phenomena associated with several devices for controlling turbulent separated flow were investigated at low speeds. Relative performance of the devices was examined for flow over a curved, backward-facing ramp in a wind tunnel, and the flow phenomena were examined in a water tunnel using dye-flow visualization. Surface static pressure measurements and oil-flow visualization results from the wind tunnel tests indicated that transverse grooves, longitudinal grooves, submerged vortex generators, vortex generator jets (VGJ’s), Viets’ fluidic flappers, elongated arches +a + a (positive angle of attack), and large-eddy breakup devices (LEBU’s) +a + a placed near the baseline separation location reduce flow separation and increase pressure recovery. Spanwise cylinders reduce flow separation but decrease pressure recovery downstream. Riblets, passive porous surfaces, swept grooves, Helmholtz resonators, and arches and LEBU’s with a < 0° had no significant effect in reducing the extent of the separation region. Wall-cooling computations indicated that separation delay on a partially-cooled ramp is nearly the same as on a fully-cooled ramp, while minimizing the frictional drag increase associated with the wall cooling process. Dye-flow visualization tests in the water tunnel indicated that wishbone vortex generators in the forward orientation shed horseshoe vortices; wishbone vortex generators oriented in the reverse direction and doublet vortex generators shed streamwise counterrotating vortices; a spanwise cylinder located near the wall and LEBU’s at a = —10° produced eddies or transverse vortices which rotated with the same sign as the mean vorticity in a turbulent boundary layer; and the most effective VGJ’s produced streamwise co-rotating vortices. Comparative wind-tunnel test results indicated that transferring momentum from the outer region of a turbulent boundary layer through the action of embedded streamwise vortices is more effective than by transverse vortices for the separation control application studied herein.


In Copyright. URI: This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).