Combustion-Based Actuator for Flow Control in Transonic Flight Applications

Period of Performance: 08/01/2005 - 08/01/2007


Phase 2 STTR

Recipient Firm

Virtual Aerosurface Technologies
575 14th Street, Suite 1375
Atlanta, GA 30318
Principal Investigator
Firm POC

Research Institution

Georgia Institute of Technology
225 North Ave NW
Atlanta, GA 30332
Institution POC


Combustion powered actuation (COMPACT) is a flow control technology developed at Georgia Tech which utilizes a miniature combustion chamber (cubic centimeter scale) to produce high-speed pulsed jets suitable for aerodynamic flow control (separation control, drag reduction, shock control, etc.) at transonic or supersonic speeds. The system is lightweight, can be operated with passive fluidic valves (such that the actuator has no moving parts), and creates actuator jets with momentum far beyond other current actuation approaches. The proposed STTR Phase II program will continue the development of an optimized actuator system which can be mass-manufactured with integrated chamber formation, plumbing, and electronics, can operate from a liquid fuel source, and has proven effectiveness in manipulating high-speed flows. The work program will build towards this objective with four task groups: actuator development (including in-depth analysis and optimization of the combustion and chamber refill processes and actuator endurance testing), liquid fuels adaptation (featuring parallel development of systems utilizing atomization, fuel reforming, and pressurized liquid fuels), batch fabrication of actuators (furthering metal laminate techniques developed during Phase I, prototyping unique actuator configurations for improved performance, and developing integrated electronics), and high-speed flow control demonstrations (including a test at the facilities of The Boeing Company).