Degree Type

Honors Capstone Project

Date of Submission

Spring 5-1-2007

Capstone Advisor

Mark Glauser

Honors Reader

Jacques Lewalle

Capstone Major

Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Capstone College

Engineering and Computer Science

Audio/Visual Component


Capstone Prize Winner


Won Capstone Funding


Honors Categories

Sciences and Engineering

Subject Categories

Aerospace Engineering | Astrodynamics | Other Aerospace Engineering | Propulsion and Power


Using experimental methods, zero net-mass flow actuators were optimized to manipulate flow around an airborne laser turret in order to reduce destructive aero-optics effects. Synthetic jets are created by 50 mm and 27 mm piezoelectric disk actuators. Our optimization process involved identifying an actuator’s cavity size, driving frequency, and amplitude to achieve the strongest, most consistent jet possible. The effects of driving a single actuator versus driving two actuators in or out of phase with one another were also investigated. An initial cavity depth was determined using the Helmholtz resonator cavity approximation which estimates the ideal cavity depth for a given resonance frequency. Hotwires were used to collect data and time series for the velocity profile of each actuator at different cavity depths, driving frequencies, and amplitudes. The length and area of the resonance cavity’s opening slot are being held constant throughout our optimization process. When operating at optimized cavity and input settings, the piezoelectric disk actuators were found to produce synthetic jets with velocities as high as 90 m/s. Two local maxima for synthetic jet velocities were located at driving frequencies approximating those of the piezoelectric actuators and resonance cavity. Changing the phase and number of actuators resulted in similar velocities, but at a different distribution of driving frequencies. The effects of the synthetic jets produced by these actuators on the flow acting over a spherical turret is being analyzed in wind tunnel testing utilizing flow visualization and pressure measurements.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.



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