Advancing the knowledge of fluid mechanics is central to improving the performance of many systems of practical interest. This is especially important for aerial vehicles as these are in motion relative to the fluid completely surrounding them. Internal motion of fluid is also relevant to vehicle propulsion and power generation.
Experiments have been traditionally used to measure the pertinent quantities characterizing a fluid and its motion. In recent years this approach has been paralleled and complemented by computational simulations of the fluid systems.
Accordingly, the Experimental AeroScience group and the Computational & Theoretical AeroScience group of the NUS Temasek Laboratories cooperate on different fluid-dynamics projects. At the same time, the Experimental AeroScience group also pursues some specific flow studies that are only viable through experimental measurements.
The purpose of the group is to conduct experiments on advanced concepts for improving the fluid-dynamic performance of vehicles. The research activities span the areas of aerodynamics, aeroacoustics, hydrodynamics, fluid/structures interaction, and propulsion, and provide potential solutions to enhance performance and reliability of aircraft, UAV, and AUV. Main focus is on flow physics, adaptable aerodynamic systems, and actuators for flow control.
Flow physics : the research is directed toward a better understanding of the fundamental laws governing the flow of fluids. This is central to progress in craft design. The group is active in this field by conducting experimental measurements of the flow and acoustic fields generated by wings, empennages, diffusers, nozzles, and other external and internal flows.
Adaptable aerodynamic systems : these will include airfoils capable of sensory-based, autonomous shaping and, on a later time, morphing of wings or vehicles. These strategies will enable more effective and robust vehicle aerodynamics. A multidisciplinary study has commenced to understand the optimal type and placement of a limited number of transducers for sensing the aerodynamic performance, the actuators and mechanical structures used for aerodynamic shaping or morphing, and the development of suitable control systems for flight and motion.
Actuators for flow control : the advancement of flow actuators is central to the advancement of flow control. Innovative flow actuators would have: dynamic response, large bandwidth, lower energy consumption, small size/weight. The group is exploring different actuation techniques among which dielectric barrier discharge (DBD) plasma actuators, synthetic jets, shape memory alloy (SMA) actuators, and combustion powered jets.
Airfoil morphing by MFC actuators
Aerodynamic Control with Plasma Actuators
Swept-back grid fins for reduced drag
Control of flow separation in air intakes via flow injection and suction
Mixing enhancement of engine exhausts
Active control of delta-wing vortex breakdown
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