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Global Stability Analysis of Turbulent Transonic Flows on Airfoil geometries


Chiara Iorio, Maria


González Gutierrez, Leo Miguel

Research area

Numerical Simulation

Affiliated Research Center

Universidad Politécnica de Madrid

Flow unsteadiness is an important problem in aerodynamic applications. In fact, there are several types of unsteady phenomena that are still at the cutting edge of research in the field; separation at high angles of attack and transonic buffet are two important examples. Global Stability Analysis can identify the unstable onset conditions, providing important information about the instability location in the domain and the frequency of the unstable phenomenon. The methodology computes a base flow averaged state based on a finite volume discretization and a solution for a generalized eigenvalue problem corresponding to the perturbed linearized equations. The numerical computation is then performed in three steps: first, a steady solution for the RANS equation is computed; second, the Jacobian matrix that represents the linearized problem is obtained; and finally, the generalized eigenvalue problem is derived and solved with an Arnoldi iterative method. As a first validation test, the technique has been applied on a laminar circular cylinder in order to detect the von Karman vortex shedding onset, comparing the results with experiments and with previous calculations. The main part of the study focusses on turbulent and compressible cases. The prediction of the origin and progression of separated flows at high angles of attack has been studied on the NACA0012 airfoil at subsonic and transonic conditions and for the A310 airfoil in take-off configuration. For all the analyzed geometries, it has been found that gradual separation generates the appearance of one specific unstable mode for angles of attack always greater than the ones related to the maximum lift coefficient. In addition, the adjoint problem has been studied to suggest the location of an external force that results in the largest change to the flow field. From the direct and the adjoint analysis the structural sensitivity map has been computed and the core of the instability has been located. The other important phenomenon analyzed in this work is the transonic buffet. In transonic conditions, the interaction between the shock wave and the boundary layer leads to an oscillation of the shock location and, consequently, of the aerodynamic forces. Knowing the critical operational conditions and its origin can be helpful in preventing such fluctuating forces. The instability onset has then been computed and compared with the literature. Moreover, results of the corresponding adjoint problem and a sensitivity map have been provided for the first time for the buffet problem, indicating the region that must be modified to create the biggest change in flow field properties. Because of the large memory consumption required when a 3D case is approached, a domain reduction study has been carried out with the aim of limiting the domain size to the region where the instability is located. The effectiveness of the domain reduction has been evaluated by investigating the change in the Jacobian matrix size, not being very efficient in terms of memory consumption. Since buffet is a three-dimensional problem, TriGlobal stability analysis can be seen as a future challenge. To approximate the problem, a first study has been carried out on an extruded three-dimensional geometry of the NACA0012 airfoil. The 3D flow computation and the TriGlobal stability analysis have been performed for the first time on a compressible and turbulent 3D case. The results have been compared with a 2D model, confirming that the buffet onset evaluated in the 2D case is well detected. Moreover, the computation has given an indication about the memory consumption for a 3D case.