Experimental investigation of the transonic buffet cycle on a supercritical airfoil

A. D’Aguanno*, F. F.J. Schrijer, B. W. van Oudheusden

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)
49 Downloads (Pure)


Abstract: Transonic buffet behaviour of the supercritical airfoil OAT15A was investigated experimentally at flow conditions Ma= 0.7 and α= 3. 5 , using schlieren and particle image velocimetry (PIV). The general behaviour of the buffet cycle was characterised with short-exposure schlieren visualisation and phase-averaged PIV measurements. A spectral analysis showed that the shock oscillation occurs with a dominant contribution at 160 Hz (St = 0.07, in good agreement with the literature) and between 25 and 55 % of the chord of the airfoil. Proper Orthogonal Decomposition (POD) was applied to the PIV data to extract the main modes connected with buffet. It is found that the first three most energetic modes capture around 65 % of the total fluctuating kinetic energy. The first and the third modes have a main frequency peak at 160 Hz and are well representing the separated area and the shock oscillation. The second mode was, instead, associated with an asymmetrical behaviour of the separated area and of the shear layer and displays a main peak at 320 Hz, being double the main buffet cycle frequency. Finally, it was shown that by using the 11 most energetic POD modes, an accurate reduced-order model (ROM) is obtained, which when subtracted from the instantaneous velocity fields allows the visualisation of the small-scale structures present in the flow, such as the upstream travelling waves (UTWs) and the vortex shedding in the separated area near the trailing edge. The analysis allowed to estimate the velocity of the UTWs, obtaining values in good agreement with the literature. In contrast, the analysis of the vortex dynamics in the trailing edge area revealed that vortices shed at the shock foot, which convect downstream in an area detached from the airfoil surface, cannot be considered responsible for the creation of UTWs in view of the mismatch in frequency of the two phenomena. Graphic abstract: [Figure not available: see fulltext.]

Original languageEnglish
Article number214
Number of pages23
JournalExperiments in Fluids
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2021


This work has been carried out as part of the project HOMER (Holistic Optical Metrology for Aero-Elastic Research), funded by the European Commission, Program H2020 under Grant No. 769237.

Cite this