Mechanisms of Morphing Wall Flow Control by Traveling Waves over an Airfoil Academic Article uri icon


  • The main two mechanisms of morphing wall flow control are direct injection of momentum in the streamwise direction and indirect momentum transfer via triggering instabilities. Traveling waves have been shown to perform better than standing waves, probably because they can use both mechanisms. However, the relative importance of the two mechanisms is not known. To differentiate between the mechanisms, a range of parameters (frequency, amplitude, and starting location) at stall (15deg angle of attack) and poststall (20deg angle of attack) is tested using wall-resolved large-eddy simulations with a sharp-interface curvilinear immersed boundary method at a low Reynolds number of [Formula: see text] over a NACA0018 airfoil. The results of the simulations demonstrate that the flow is reattached within a range of nondimensional frequencies, actuation amplitudes, and starting locations of oscillation at the stall and poststall angles of attack. Significant lift enhancement and drag reduction are also observed within these ranges. The nondimensional frequency range at which the flow is reattached is found to be similar to the dominant nondimensional frequencies of leading-edge vortex shedding of the unactuated airfoil. These indicate that the indirect transfer of momentum is the dominant mechanism because direct injection of momentum increases with the increase of amplitude and frequency; that is, separation should reduce as they increase. Nevertheless, direct injection of momentum improves the performance relative to pure excitations of standing waves when instabilities are triggered.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Ogunka, U. E., Akbarzadeh, A. M., & Borazjani, I.

complete list of authors

  • Ogunka, Uchenna E||Akbarzadeh, Amir M||Borazjani, Iman

publication date

  • April 2023