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Global instability of wing shock-buffet onset. (English) Zbl 07154371
Summary: Shock buffet on wings encountered in edge-of-the-envelope transonic flight remains an unresolved and disputed flow phenomenon, challenging both fundamental fluid mechanics and applied aircraft aerodynamics. Its dynamics is revealed through the interaction of spanwise shock-wave oscillations and intermittent turbulent boundary-layer separation. Resulting unsteady aerodynamic loads, and their mutual working with the flexible aircraft structure, need to be accounted for in establishing the safe flight envelope. The question of global instability leading to this flow unsteadiness is addressed herein. It is shown for the first time on an industrially relevant configuration that the dynamics of a single unstable oscillatory eigenmode plays a prominent role in near-onset shock buffet on a quasi-rigid wing. Its three-dimensional spatial structure, previously inferred both from experiment and time-marching simulation, describes a spanwise-localised pocket of shear-layer pulsation synchronised with an outboard-propagating shock oscillation. The results also suggest that the concept of a critical global shock-buffet mode commonly reported for two-dimensional aerofoils also applies to three-dimensional finite and swept wings, albeit different modes at play. Specifically, the modern wing design, NASA Common Research Model, with publicly available geometry and experimental data for code validation is studied at a free-stream Mach number of 0.85 with Reynolds number per reference chord of \(5.0\times 10^6\) and varying angle of attack between \(3. 5^°\) and \(4. 0^°\) targeting the instability onset. Strouhal number at instability onset just above \(3. 7^°\) is approximately 0.39. At the same time, a band of eigenmodes shows reduced decay rate in the Strouhal-number range of 0.3 to 0.7, with additional unstable oscillatory modes appearing beyond onset. Importantly, those emerging modes seem to discretise the continuous band of medium-wavelength modes, as recently reported for infinite swept wings using stability analysis, hence generalising those findings to finite wings. Through conventional time-marching unsteady simulation it is explored how the critical linear eigenmode feeds into the nonlinearly saturated limit-cycle oscillation near instability onset. The established numerical strategy, using an iterative inner-outer Krylov approach with shift-and-invert spectral transformation and sparse iterative linear solver, to solve the arising large-scale eigenvalue problem with an industrial Reynolds-averaged Navier-Stokes flow solver means that such a practical non-canonical test case at a high-Reynolds-number condition can be investigated. The numerical findings can potentially be exploited for more effective unsteady flow analysis in future wing design and inform routes to flow control and model reduction.

76 Fluid mechanics
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