Graduation Semester and Year




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Aerospace Engineering


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

First Advisor

Frank Lu


Vortex generators (VGs) within external-compression supersonic inlets for Mach 1.6 were investigated to determine their ability to increase total pressure recovery and reduce total pressure distortion. Ramp and vane-type VGs were studied. The geometric factors of interest included height, length, spacing, angle-of-incidence, and positions upstream and downstream of the inlet terminal shock. The flow through the inlet was simulated numerically through the solution of the steady-state, Reynolds-averaged Navier-Stokes equations on multi-block, structured grids using the Wind-US flow solver. The inlet performance was characterized by the inlet total pressure recovery and the radial and circumferential total pressure distortion indices at the engine face. Previous research of downstream VGs in the low-boom supersonic inlet demonstrated improvement in radial distortion up to 24% while my work on external-compression supersonic inlets improved radial distortion up to 86%, which is significant. The design of experiments and statistical analysis methods were applied to quantify the effect of the geometric factors of VGs and search for optimal VG arrays. From the analysis, VG angle-of-incidence and VG height were the most influential factors in increasing total pressure recovery and reducing distortion. The study on the two-dimensional external-compression inlet determined which passive flow control devices, such as counter-rotating vanes or ramps, reduce high distortion levels and improve the health of the boundary layer, relative to the baseline. Downstream vanes demonstrate up to 21% improvement in boundary layer health and 86% improvement in radial distortion. Upstream vanes demonstrated up to 3% improvement in boundary layer health and 9% improvement in radial distortion. Ramps showed no improvement in boundary layer health and radial distortion. Micro-VGs were preferred for their reduced viscous drag and improvement in total pressure recovery at the AIP. Although traditional VGs energize the flow with stronger vortex structures compared to micro-VGs, the AIP is affected with overwhelming amounts of reduced and enhanced flow regions. In summary, vanes are exceptional in reducing radial distortion and improving the health of the boundary layer compared to the ramps. In the study of the STEX inlet, vane-type vortex generators were the preferred devices for boundary layer flow control. In the supersonic diffuser, co-rotating vane arrays and counter-rotating vane arrays did not show improvement. In the subsonic diffuser, co-rotating vane arrays with negative angles-of-incidence and counter-rotating vane arrays were exceptional in reducing radial distortion and improving total pressure recovery. Downstream co-rotating vanes demonstrated up to 41% improvement in radial distortion whereas downstream counter-rotating vanes demonstrated up to 73% improvement. For downstream counter-rotating vanes, a polynomial trend between VG height and radial distortion indicate that increasing VG height improves inlet distortion. In summary, downstream vanes are exceptional in improving total pressure recovery compared to upstream vanes.


Flow control, Vortex generators, Supersonic inlets, Inlet pressure, Navier-Stokes equations, Reynolds averaging, Boundary layers, Engine inlets, Computational fluid dynamics, Upstream, Downstream, Ramps, Vanes, Shapes, Steady state, Distortions, Supersonic speed, Pressure reduction, Momentum, Turbulent boundary layer


Aerospace Engineering | Engineering | Mechanical Engineering


Degree granted by The University of Texas at Arlington