Investigation of turbulence-surface interaction noise mechanisms and their reduction using porous materials

Research output: ThesisDissertation (TU Delft)

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The interaction of an airfoil with incident turbulence is an important source of aerodynamic noise in numerous applications, such as turbofan engines, cooling systems for automotive and construction industries, high-lift devices on aircraft wings, and landing gear systems. In these instances, turbulence is generally produced by elements that are installed upstream of the wing profile and generate inflow distortions. A possible strategy for the reduction of turbulence-interaction noise, also referred to as leading-edge noise, is represented by the integration of porous media in the structure of the airfoil. However, the physical mechanisms involved in this noise mitigation technique remain unclear. The present thesis aims to elucidate these phenomena and, particularly, how porosity affects the incoming turbulence characteristics in the immediate vicinity of the surface. This problem has been addressed from different perspectives, namely from the technological, experimental, and analytical ones. An innovative design for a porous NACA-0024 profile fitted with melamine foam is proposed. The noise reduction performance achieved with such a porous treatment is evaluated through a novel version of the generalized inverse beamforming (GIBF) implemented with an improved regularization technique. The algorithm is first applied to different experimental benchmark datasets in order to evaluate its ability to reconstruct distributed aeroacoustic sources and to assess its accuracy and variability in different conditions. Results indicate that the implemented method provides an enhanced representation of the distributed noise-source regions and higher performance in terms of accuracy and variability if compared with other common beamforming techniques. GIBF is then employed together with far-field microphone measurements to characterize the leading-edge noise radiated by solid and porous NACA-0024 profiles immersed in the wake of an upstream cylindrical rod at different free-stream velocities. A noise reduction of up to 2dB is found for frequencies around the vortex-shedding peak, with a trend that is independent of the Reynolds number, whereas significant noise regeneration is observed at higher frequencies, most probably due to surface roughness. Subsequently, the flow-field alterations due to porosity in the stagnation region of the airfoils are investigated by means of mean-wall pressure, hot-wire anemometry, and particle image velocimetry measurements. The porous treatment mostly preserves the integrity of the NACA-0024 profile’s shape but yields a wider opening of the jet flow that increases the drag force. Moreover, porosity allows for damping of the velocity fluctuations near the surface and has limited influence on the upstream mean-flow field. In particular, the upwash component of the root-mean-square of the velocity fluctuations turns out to be significantly attenuated in a porous airfoil in contrast to a solid one, resulting in a strong decrease of the turbulent kinetic energy in the stagnation region. The present effect is more pronounced for higher Reynolds numbers. The mean spanwise vorticity close to the body appears also to be mitigated by the porous treatment. Furthermore, the comparison between the power spectral densities of the incident turbulent velocities demonstrates that porosity has an effect mainly on the low-frequency range of the turbulent-velocity spectrum, with a spatial extent up to about two leading-edge radii from the stagnation point. In addition, the vortex-shedding frequency peak in the power spectrum of the streamwise velocity fluctuations close to the airfoil surface is found to be suppressed by porosity. The present results show analogies with the outcomes of the aeroacoustic analysis, highlighting the important role played by the attenuated turbulence distortion due to the porous treatment of the airfoil in the corresponding noise reduction. An analytical model based on the rapid distortion theory (RDT) to predict the turbulent flow around a porous cylinder is formulated with the aim of improving the understanding of the effect of porosity on turbulence distortion and interpreting the experimental results. The porous treatment, characterized by a constant static permeability, is modeled as a varying impedance boundary condition applied to the potential component of the velocity that accounts for Darcy’s flow within the body. The RDT implementation is first validated through comparisons with published velocity measurements in the stagnation region of an impermeable cylinder placed downstream of a turbulence grid. Afterwards, the impact of porosity on the velocity field is investigated through the analysis of the one-dimensional velocity spectra at different locations near the body and the velocity variance along the stagnation streamline. The porous surface affects the incoming turbulence distortion near the cylinder by reducing the blocking effect of the body and by altering the vorticity deformation caused by the mean flow. The former leads to an attenuation of the one-dimensional velocity spectrum in the low-frequency range, whereas the latter results in an amplification of the high-frequency components. This trend is found to be strongly dependent on the turbulence scale and influences the evolution of the velocity fluctuations in the stagnation region. The porous RDT model is finally adapted to calculate the turbulence distortion in the vicinity of the porous NACA- 0024 profile leading edge. The satisfactory agreement between predictions and experimental results suggests that the present methodology can improve the understanding of the physical mechanisms involved in the airfoil-turbulence interaction noise reduction through porosity and can be instrumental in designing such passive noise-mitigation treatments.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Delft University of Technology
  • Scarano, F., Supervisor
  • Schram, C, Supervisor, External person
  • Ragni, D., Supervisor
Award date26 Apr 2021
Print ISBNs978-2-87516-163-5
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Aeroacoustics; Turbulence-interaction noise
  • Porous materials
  • Beamforming
  • Rod-airfoil configuration
  • Rapid distortion theory

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