Date of Award


Degree Name

MS in Aerospace Engineering


Aerospace Engineering


College of Engineering


Aaron Drake

Advisor Department

Aerospace Engineering

Advisor College

College of Engineering


The objective of this thesis was to develop an experimental method to research circulation control wings using numerical analysis. Specifically, it is of interest to perform 3D wind tunnel testing on a circulation control wing in the Cal Poly Low Speed Wind Tunnel (CPLSWT). A circulation control wing was designed and analyzed to determine the feasibility of this testing.

This study relied on computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations as a method to predict the flow conditions that would be seen in a wind tunnel test. A CFD simulation was created of a wing model in a wind tunnel domain. Due to high computational requirements, reliable 3D CFD results were not obtained. This led to utilizing 2D CFD models to make estimations about the flow conditions that would be encountered in an experimental environment. The 2D CFD model was validated with previous experimental data on circulation control wings and was shown to accurately capture the flow physics. These 2D CFD results were used to create a set of guidelines to help improve the effectiveness of a future wind tunnel test campaign and demonstrate where further design work needs to be done.

The key finding is that it is feasible to perform circulation control testing in the CPLSWT with limitations on the maximum momentum coefficient. Due to internal plenum pressures reaching 66 psi at Cμ=0.35, a limitation should be placed on experimental testing below the choked condition of at Cμ=0.15. This provides a more feasible operating range for the equipment available. The main performance parameter of the airfoil was met with CLMAX=5.01 at Cμ=0.35 which required 0.9 lb/s/m mass flow rate for the 2D model.