Project aims to tame noise from supersonic military jets with 'swirl' technology | 3/20/2019 | Staff
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Turbulent flow structures with noise shown at the background. Credit: Zhi Wang.

It's cliché to describe something very noisy as "louder than a jet engine." But supersonic jet engines, like those powering fighters flown by the U.S. military, are so much louder than regular jet engines that scientists have a special term for their sound—"broadband shock-associated noise."

Team - Faculty - Students - Department - Aerospace

Now, a team of faculty and students from the Department of Aerospace Engineering at the University of Kansas will design and test innovative technologies to cut noise from supersonic military jets. The U.S. Department of Defense's Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program (SERDP), the DoD's environmental science and technology program, is supporting a one-year, $200,000 effort at KU, with the potential to expand that support in the years ahead.

"This project will test ideas to reduce jet noise from supersonic military aircraft," said Z.J. Wang, Spahr Professor of Aerospace Engineering at KU, who is heading the new effort. "At the moment, the noise is so loud that it affects the health of personnel working in close proximity to the aircraft and people living close to the military base. This is a challenging problem, and we've suggested some novel ideas which have potential."

Wang - KU - Collaborators - Work - Saeed

Wang's KU collaborators on the work are Saeed Farokhi, Ray Taghavi, Huixuan Wu and Charlie Zheng—all faculty members in the aerospace engineering department.

The researchers will investigate the potential of installing vanes inside the jet engine exit nozzle to create "shear layer swirl" that promotes mixing of jet exhaust with surrounding air, thereby cutting noise.

Team - Fluid - Dynamics - Aero-acoustics - Supercomputers

The team, studying computational fluid dynamics and computational aero-acoustics via supercomputers and conducting research in fundamental flow physics jet noise and acoustic measurements at the KU department's Garrison Flight Research Center, will aim for an ambitious three-decibel reduction in jet noise, which in effect cuts acoustic power in half.

"Swirl is the rotational...
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