Date of Award


Degree Name

MS in Aerospace Engineering


Aerospace Engineering


College of Engineering


Dr. David Marshall

Advisor Department

Aerospace Engineering

Advisor College

College of Engineering


Testing done on the flat-back Ahmed Body and other bluff bodies has shown the existence of a bi-stable reflectional symmetry-breaking wake at Reynolds numbers ranging from 340 to 2.41 x 106. Several methods of flow control, both active and passive, have been used to improve the efficiency of the Ahmed body but their effect on the bi-stable nature of the wake has not been investigated. This work details the experimental investigation done to determine if piezoelectrically driven synthetic jet actuators are capable of suppressing the bi-stable wake effects observed behind the Ahmed Body. The synthetic jets were designed and manufactured to have a maximum total coefficient of momentum of 1.0E-3 with a frequency range up to 2000 Hz or F+ = 17.25. The piezoelectric actuators used were bimorph bending disks with no center shim and were driven by a square waveform. Pressure data was collected from 25 pressure ports on the rear of the model at 625 Hz for 600 seconds per run and filtered using a lowpass filter at 35 Hz to remove interference. Center of Pressure probability distributions and Principle Component Analysis were used to identify wake shapes and modes. Results with no jet actuation showed good agreement with previously published work on the Ahmed Body. It was found that the actuation frequency had an effect on the ability of the synthetic jets to affect the wake. Actuating at F+ = 1 (116 Hz) showed a bi-stable wake with an even distribution between wake modes. Higher actuation frequencies showed either a skewed distribution with a weakening of the bi-stable effects (4 < F+ < 8) or a complete removal of the bi-stable distribution (8 < F+ < 12). Frequencies higher than F+ = 12 did not show any effect on the bi-stable distribution. There was a negative correlation between actuation frequency and average wake pressure; it is theorized that the synthetic jets enhance mixing in the shear layer around the recirculation bubble in the wake to decrease average pressure.