Department of Aerodynamics, Energetics and Propulsion of the ISAE
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Advanced Aerodynamics and Flow Control

last modified 21 March 2012

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Permanent staff: E. Benard, A. Bonnet, Y. Bury, V. G. Chapin, V. Ferrand

Post-doctoral fellows: T. Jardin

PhD students: M. Lucas, S. Béchet

Contact :, phone: 33 (0)5 61 33 89 70

The research conducted in the field of advanced aerodynamics and flow control aims to extend knowledge of unsteady flows and massive separation. New control strategies for unsteady flows have been defined and validated, with the objective of increasing or extending the performance of complex systems with passive, active or adaptive control, depending on the technological level of the application under consideration.

The control strategies thus developed are based on the nonlinear nature of the dynamics of the coherent structures found in these flows. On-going links with our industrial partners are used to orientate this research towards disruptive technologies in the aeronautics, automotive and nautical industries. This research makes the most of two advanced tools: PIV (3C-3D and TR) for experimental research and the VLab numerical-simulation platform. They are organized according to the following topics.

Unsteady aerodynamics

Current studies focus on the aerodynamics of a vehicle subject to lateral winds. They are based on wind-tunnel tests with PIV, force and wall pressure measurements. Transient force effects generated by the creation of large-scale vortex and/or flow separations have been qualified in the wake of a reference body.

The unsteady aerodynamics specific to airship flight, are also being studied with phenomena like the added-mass and inertial effects typical of “light-as-air” vehicles.

Vortex interactions

A partnership with Airbus is underway, focusing on characterization and control of the flow resulting from nacelle-mast-wing interaction and its consequences on an aircraft’s aerodynamic performance. A second study is underway in the collaborative framework of a NATO program devoted to studies of the aerodynamic field around a cargo aircraft (upsweep vortices) and its influence on airdrop operations. This involves highly detailed wind-tunnel tests and numerical simulations. The objective is to propose innovative technological solutions involving passive or active flow control for safer airdrops.

The work which led to the development of VLab concerned the study and optimization of interacting lifting surfaces and the resulting unsteadiness due to flow separations. It was developed through a partnership with Yves Parlier’s Aquitaine Design Team, within the framework of the Hydraplaneur innovative project.

Pulsed-jet and synthetic-jet flow control

New flow control strategies have been developed through the modelling of pulsed-jet and synthetic-jet actuators. They focus on separation control and/or large-scale vortex control, based, in particular, on continuing development of VLab using simulation to enhance understanding of unsteady flows. This work has been applied to the characterization and definition of innovating fluidic-control concepts inspired by our participation in the PEA CACV (DGA-MRIS program, in partnership with Dassault-Aviation).


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