Upstream actuation for bluff-body wake control driven by a genetically inspired optimization
Journal article, 2020
The control of bluff-body wakes for reduced drag and enhanced stability has traditionally relied on the so-called direct-wake control approach. By the use of actuators or passive devices, one can manipulate the aerodynamic loads that act on the rear of the model. An alternative approach for the manipulation of the flow is to move the position of the actuator upstream, hence interacting with an easier-to-manipulate boundary layer. The present paper comprises a bluff-body flow study via large-eddy simulations to investigate the effectiveness of an upstream actuator (positioned at the leading edge) with regard to the manipulation of the wake dynamics and its aerodynamic loads. A rectangular cylinder with rounded leading edges, equipped with actuators positioned at the front curvatures, is simulated at. A genetic algorithm (GA) optimization is performed to find an effective actuation that minimizes drag. It is shown that the GA selects superharmonic frequencies of the natural vortex shedding. Hence, the induced disturbances, penetrating downstream in the wake, significantly reduce drag and lateral instability. A comparison with a side-recirculation-suppression approach is also presented, the latter case being worse in terms of reduced drag (only 8 % drag reduction achieved), despite the total suppression of the side recirculation bubble. In contrast, the GA optimized case contributes to a 20 % drag reduction with respect to the unactuated case. In addition, the large drag reduction is associated with a reduced shedding motion and an improved lateral stability.