Potential of Micro-Vortex Generators in Enhancing the Quality of Flow in a Hypersonic Inlet-Isolator
Keywords:shock wave-boundary layer interaction, micro-vortex generator, flow separation
The rush to be the first to demonstrate a practical hypersonic cruise missile has never been more frantic among the world’s superpowers, especially since China and India have also announced their own programme. The main hurdle for safe hypersonic flight is the severe shock wave-boundary layer interaction (SWBLI) that could induce flow separation. The separation could lead to inlet unstart and also structural damage at the flow re-attachment point. The simplest method to control these phenomena is by using passive flow control devices such as micro-vortex generator (MVG). The MVG is typically sized in the range of sub-boundary layer and the vortex generated can induce an early transition to turbulence thus avoiding or reducing the impact of flow separation. Many studies have been published with regard to MVG, but most were done in low supersonic speed and not in the hypersonic flow regime. In the current study, the MVG array was placed strategically at various locations on a hypersonic inlet-isolator representative geometry. The MVG has been proven to be very effective in eliminating or reducing the size of flow separation thus reducing the associated peak pressure at the re-attachment point.