A new exploration on passive control of transonic flow over a backward-facing step

Xiang Shen, Kai Zeng*, Liming Yang, Chengyong Zhu, Laurent Dala

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper aims to study passive control techniques for transonic flow over a backward-facing step (BFS) using square-lobed trailing edges. The study investigates the efficacy of upward and downward lobe patterns, different lobe widths and deflection angles on flow separation, aiming for a deeper understanding of the flow physics behind the passive flow control system.

Large Eddy Simulation and Reynolds-averaged Navier–Stokes were used to evaluate the results of the study. The research explores the impact of upward and downward patterns of lobes on flow separation through the effects of different lobe widths and deflection angles. Numerical methods are used to analyse the behaviour of transonic flow over BFS and compared it to existing experimental results.

The square-lobed trailing edges significantly enhance the reduction of mean reattachment length by up to 80%. At Ma = 0.8, the up-downward configuration demonstrates increased effectiveness in reducing the root mean square of pressure fluctuations at a proximity of 5-step height in the wake region, with a reduction of 50%, while the flat-downward configuration proves to be more efficient in reducing the root mean square of pressure fluctuations at a proximity of 1-step height in the near wake region, achieving a reduction of 71%. Furthermore, the study shows that the up-downward configuration triggers early spanwise velocity fluctuations, whereas the standalone flat-downward configuration displays less intense crosswise velocity fluctuations within the wake region.

Practical implications
The findings demonstrate the effectiveness of square-lobed trailing edges as passive control techniques, showing significant implications for improving efficiency, performance and safety of the design in aerospace and industrial systems.

This paper demonstrates that the square-lobed trailing edges are effective in reducing the mean reattachment length and pressure fluctuations in transonic conditions. The study evaluates the efficacy of different configurations, deflection angles and lobe widths on flow and provides insights into the flow physics of passive flow control systems.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages25
JournalInternational Journal of Numerical Methods for Heat & Fluid Flow
Early online date19 Feb 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 19 Feb 2024

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