Date of Award

Fall 2010

Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering


Aerospace Engineering

Committee Chair

Dr. Vladimir Golubfv

Committee Member

Dr. Hany Nakhla

Committee Member

Dr. Reda Mankbadi

Committee Member

Dr. Jean-Michel Dhainaut


This research presents an investigation on the scaling effects for synthetic jet actuators using Ansys-CFX and a Lumped Element Model (LEM). Synthetic jets or zero net mass-flux devices use a vibrating diaphragm to generate an oscillatory flow through a small orifice. A synthetic jet actuator can be used on MAVs as thrust generator or fixed on an airfoil for flow separation control. A Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) model was created, using Ansys-CFX, to be validated against referred publications. The use of mesh adaption is discussed. This baseline model was then used to complete a scaling analysis using a set of geometries. The average velocity and the thrust at the orifice were controlled values. The Lumped Element Model (LEM) was employed to create a model comparable to the baseline CFX model. Discussion about the way of using the LEM is provided. Another scaling analysis was conducted using the LEM and optimal excitation parameters of the actuator were found. Finally a test case was conducted with both models, velocity profile was extracted for future use in an application of controlled separated flow over an airfoil using an actuator and optimal excitation parameters were obtained.