A combined experimental and numerical investigation of flow control actuation in a short, rectangular, diffusing S-shape inlet duct using a two-dimensional tangential control jet was conducted. Experimental and numerical techniques were used in conjunction as complementary techniques, which are utilized to better understand the complex flow field. The compact inlet had a length-to-hydraulic diameter ratio of 1.5 and was investigated at a free-stream Mach number of 0.44. In contrast to the baseline flow, where the flow field was fully separated, the two-dimensional control jet was able to eliminate flow separation at the mid-span portion of the duct and changed considerably the three-dimensional flow field, and ultimately, the inlet performance. A comparison between the baseline (no actuation) and forced flow fields showed that secondary flow structures dominated both flow fields, which is inevitably associated with total pressure loss. Contrary to the baseline case, the secondary flow structures in the forced case were established from the core flow stagnating on the lower surface of the duct close to the aerodynamic interface plane. High fidelity spectral analysis of the experimental results at the inlet’s exit plane showed that the baseline flow field was dominated by pressure fluctuations corresponding to a Strouhal number based on hydraulic diameter of 0.26. Not only did the two-dimensional tangential control jet improve the time-averaged pressure recovery at the inlet exit plane (13.3% at the lower half of the aerodynamic interface plane), it essentially eliminated the energy content of the distinct unsteady fluctuations which characterized the baseline flow field. This result has several implications for the design of a realistic engine inlet; furthermore, it depicts that a single non-intrusive static pressure measurement at the surface of the duct can detect flow separation.
International Journal of Heat and Fluid Flows, Volume 54, p. 143-152, August 2015.