Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Committee Chair

Wade Huebsch.


The aircraft industry, as a whole, has been deeply concerned with improving the aerodynamic efficiency of current and future flight vehicles, particularly in the commercial and military markets. However, of particular interest to the field of aerodynamics is the elusive concept of a workable flow control mechanism. Effective flow control is a concept which if properly applied can increase aerodynamic efficiency. Various concepts and ideas to obtain successful flow control have been studied in an attempt to reap these rewards. Some examples include boundary layer blowing (steady and periodic), suction, and compliant walls for laminar flow control. The overall goal of flow control is to increase performance by increasing lift, reducing drag, and delaying or eliminating leading edge separation. The specific objectives of flow control are to (1) delay or eliminate flow separation, (2) delay boundary layer transition, and (3) and reduce skin friction drag. The purpose of this research is to investigate dynamic roughness as a novel method of flow control technology for external boundary layer flows. As opposed to standard surface roughness, dynamic roughness incorporates small time dependent perturbations to the surface of the airfoil. These surface perturbations are actual humps and/or ridges on the surface of the airfoil that are on the scale of the laminar boundary, and oscillate with an unsteady motion. Research has shown that this can provide a means to modify the instantaneous and mean velocity profile near the wall and favorably control the existing state of the boundary layer. Several flow control parameters were studied including dynamic roughness frequency, amplitude, and geometry. The results of this study have shown, both numerically and experimentally, that dynamic roughness can provide an effective means for eliminating both a short and long laminar separation bubble and possibly prove a viable alternative in effective flow control, hence reaping some of the rewards of an effective flow control system.