Control of flow separation by periodic excitation

David Greenblatt, Israel J. Wygnanski

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


This paper presents a review of the control of flow separation from solid surfaces by periodic excitation. The emphasis is placed on experimentation relating to hydrodynamic excitation, although acoustic methods as well as traditional boundary layer control, such as steady blowing and suction, are discussed in order to provide an appropriate historical context for recent developments. The review examines some aspects of the excited plane mixing-layer and shows how its development lays the foundation for a basic understanding of the problem. Flow attachment to, and separation from, a deflected flap is then shown to be a paradigm for isolating controlling parameters as well as understanding the basic mechanisms involved. Particular attention is paid to separation control on airfoils by considering controlling parameters such as optimum reduced frequencies and excitation levels, performance enhancement, efficiency, reduction of post-stall unsteadiness, compressibility and other important features. Additional topics covered include excitation of separation bubbles, control and exploitation of diffuser flows, three-dimensional effects, the influence of longitudinal curvature and possible applications to unmanned air vehicles. The review closes with some recent developments in the control and understanding of incompressible dynamic stall, specifically illustrating the control of dynamic stall on oscillating airfoils and identifying the crucial time-scale disparity between dynamic stall and periodic excitation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)487-545
Number of pages59
JournalProgress in Aerospace Sciences
Issue number7
StatePublished - Oct 2000


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