Drag Reduction Through Externally Applied, Removable Sweeping Jet Flow Control Arrays

Contributing USMA Research Unit(s)

Civil and Mechanical Engineering

Publication Date


Publication Title

AIAA 2018 Flow Control Conference

Document Type

Conference Proceeding


The study explored an external array of sweeping jet flow control actuators applied to an External Stores Support System (ESSS) component of a UH-60 Blackhawk. The ESSS was tested separate from the vehicle in the AMRDEC Aviation Development Directorate 7-ft x 10- ft wind tunnel at NASA Ames Research Center. Four arrays of 3D printed actuators were applied to upper and lower trailing edge regions. A thermally-reversible adhesive was used to adhere the arrays and allow removal from the aircraft skin. Loads were measured using the wind tunnel balance scale system along with surface static pressures and wake surveys. Tunnel velocity, actuator input, and model pitch sweeps were conducted. Smoke flow visualizations were conducted for select cases. This testing was a proof of concept, showing that an externally applied array of actuators can provide some level of flow control, be moved to different locations, and finally removed without damage to aircraft skin. Actuation reduced drag and increased lift, but did not outperform the baseline without housings due to interference of the actuator housing on the rear body flow. Key design issues are minimizing the interference created by the external housing and providing enough air mass flow for effective flow control.

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