Optimisation of Trapped Vortex Cavity for Airfoil Separation Control


Department of Aerospace Engineering, Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, 695547, India


The effects of a Trapped Vortex Cavity (TVC) on the aerodynamic performance of a NACA 0024 airfoil at a constant angle of attack (AoA) of 14were investigated in this study. It was observed that mass suction (MFR) was required to stabilise the vortex within the cavity segment. Lift to drag ratio (L/D) and MFR were chosen as performance objectives, along with a fully attached flow constraint (flow separation at X/c ≥ 95% ). Parametric analysis was carried on the baseline airfoil with and without suction and compared to the airfoil with TVC with and without suction. It was observed that L/D increases as MFR increases for a baseline airfoil, and flow separation is delayed at high suction values (MFR = 0.2 kg/s). The TVC modifies the pressure distribution on the baseline airfoil when MFR is applied to the cavity section and there is a significant increase in lift; thus, L/D increases and flow separation is delayed. A lower value of MFR = 0.08 kg/s is sufficient to stabilise the vortex and improve the efficiency of the TVC airfoil. The findings of these parametric studies were used to do a multi-objective optimisation using a genetic algorithm to attain the desired cavity shape while achieving the largest L/D and the lowest MFR (that is proportional to the power required for control) with a fully attached flow constraint. It was found that mass suction and cavity shape both had an equal influence on flow control. The Pareto optimal front yielded a series of optimum designs. One of them was subjected to an off-design analysis in order to validate its performance at other incidences. It was observed that it performs better than the baseline airfoil, with an improved L/D and an increase in stall angle from 10to 14.


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Volume 15, Issue 1 - Serial Number 63
January and February 2022
Pages 179-191
  • Received: 08 February 2021
  • Revised: 01 August 2021
  • Accepted: 07 August 2021
  • Available online: 14 November 2021