Date of Award


Degree Name

MS in Aerospace Engineering


Aerospace Engineering


Jin Tso


This paper seeks to explore the effects of an active drag control method known as distributed forcing on a 3D bluff body with a blunt base. The 9.5 x 15.25 x 3 inch aluminum model constructed for this experiment has an elliptically shaped nose and rectangular aft section. The model is fitted with four, 12 Volt fans, forcing the freestream air into and out of 1 mm thick slots on the upper and lower trailing edges. The forcing is steady in time, held at a constant forcing velocity though all Reynolds numbers, but varies roughly sinusoidally in the spanwise direction across the model. Testing was conducted at Reynolds numbers of 50,000, 100,000 and 150,000 at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo in the Aerospace Engineering Department’s subsonic 3’ by 4’ wind tunnel.

Effectiveness of the distributed forcing method was evaluated by measuring the base pressure on the model using a Scanivalve system. By measuring multiple static pressure ports, it was found that base pressure increased by 15.3% and 4.2% at Reynolds numbers of 50,000 and 100,000 respectively, and showed a decrease of 2.7% at a Reynolds number of 150,000.

Total drag on the model was also measured using a sting balance mount fitted with strain gauges. This test showed a drag reduction of 15.8% and 5.5% for Reynolds numbers of 50,000 and 100,000 respectively, and an increase in drag of 2.0% at Reynolds number of 150,000, when omitting external power required to run the forcing assembly. The forcing assembly was shown to require nearly 12 times the power to operate than it saves in drag reduction at Reynolds number of 50,000. In addition, a thermal anemometry measurement of streamwise velocity of the near wake behind the bluff body was conducted to qualitatively assess the attenuation of the vortex street behind the model. Distributed forcing shows that as the freestream velocity is increased as compared to the forcing velocity, the change in energy spectral density is lessened, and as such, the largest attenuation in vortex shedding is at Reynolds number of 50,000 while nearly no change is seen at the Reynolds number of 150,000.