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There are numerous applications where the ability to enhance the mixing of a jet
will greatly improve their performance. For example, by increasing the rate of
mixing between air and fuel, the efficiency of a combustion cycle can be
improved. Applications requiring the control of mixing in compressible flows
include thrust augmenting ejectors, thrust vector control, metal deposition and
gas dynamic lasers. The diverse nature of applicability of jets demands that they
be made suitable for a specific application by controlling them.

3.1 Classification of control methods:

Jet control can be classified into active and passive controls. In active control,
an auxiliary power source (like micro jets) is used to control the jet
characteristics. In passive control the controlling energy is drawn directly from
the flow to be controlled. Both the controls mainly aim at modifying the flow
and noise characteristics.

Active control: Active jet control methods use energized actuators to

dynamically manipulate flow phenomena. Pulsed jets, piezoelectric actuators,
micro jets and oscillating jets are among the most effective controls for active
mixing enhancement. For jet excitation, the conventional philosophy has been
to energize the large scale coherent structures or bring about vortex interactions
that result in the engulfment of surrounding fluid (entrainment), resulting in
mixing enhancement.

Passive control: Passive control usually uses geometrical modifications from

which flow separation occurs to change the shear layer stability characteristics.
Passive control techniques ranges from alterations in the exit shape of the
nozzle to the implementation of tooth like tabs and vortex generators in the jet.
Many studies have focused on the placement of small tabs at the exit of
axisymmetric and rectangular nozzles. These methods primarily aim at
disturbing the boundary layer at nozzle exit to achieve the desired flow
behaviour. The tabs or grooves trips the boundary layer and drastically
influences the shear layer growth and flow behaviour, thus enhancing the

Fig. 3.1 Schematic of passive controls

3.2 Role of shear layer in Flow control:

When a jet issuing from a nozzle propagates into the stagnant air, at the jet
boundary, vortices are generated because of the shear between the fluid
elements of the atmosphere. These vortices entrain the stagnant air mass into the
jet. Thus an active shear zone is established at the jet boundary in the proximity
of the nozzle exit. The shear propagates towards the jet exit and reaches the axis
at some downstream distance. From this location onwards the viscous action
dominates the entire jet field.

3.2.1 Subsonic shear layer

The formation of coherent structures in a subsonic shear layer is initiated by

Kelvin-Helmholtz instability, governed by Rayleighs equation for inviscid
flows. The exponential growth of the velocity and vorticity perturbations leads
to a nonlinear process eventually causes the roll up of the shear layer vortices.
The initial vortex shedding frequency - also called the most amplified frequency
is determined by various characteristics of the exit velocity profile, such as
shape, turbulent structure, initial shear momentum thickness and the jet velocity.
The initial vortices grow in the shear layer and coalesce as they are convected
downstream in a pairing process. Due to merging and entrainment, the shear
layer spreads and the frequency associated with the large vortices decreases.

3.2.2 Supersonic shear layer

Mixing in supersonic shear layers is critically dependent upon the

compressibility effects in addition to the velocity and density ratios across the
shear layer. The compressibility level is best described by a parameter called the
convective Mach number. This parameter is defined as the relative convection
speed of the large scale structure in shear layer to one of the freestreams,
normalized by the speed of sound of that stream. Shear flow control methods
seek to enhance the three dimensionality of the flow and thus entrainment and
mixing, by manipulating the natural development of large scale coherent
structures and their breakdown into turbulence. Controlled streamwise vortex
generation can be achieved using different azimuthal perturbation methods,
including corrugated, lobed or indented nozzle edges, vortex generators or other
nozzle shaping concepts.

3.3 Use of Tabs for Jet control

Bradbury and Khadem were among the first to document the effect of tabs in a
low speed jet. With two square tabs placed normal to the flow at the nozzle exit,
they observed a significant increase in the centreline velocity decay caused by
the tabs and the potential core length was reduced to about two diameters. They
considered the stirring action of trailing vortex motions shed from the tabs as a
possible mechanism for the observed effect.
Ahuja and Brown reported that, for a round jet flow of Mach number 1.12 and
total temperature 664 K, the potential core length of the jet flow could be
reduced from six diameters to under two diameters by using two diametrically
opposed mechanical tabs. The tabs reduces the temperature to about 472 K at a
distance of five jet diameters and the low frequency noise by up to 5 or 6 dB.

Zaman proposed that the distortion introduced by tabs is due to a pairof

streamwise vortices and which must be responsible for phenomenal
entrainment. They found that the tabs can distort the jet cross section and
increase the jet spread significantly. They conjectured that a tab with a height as
small as 2% of jet diameter, but larger than the efflux boundary layer thickness
produces a significant effect. Further, the tabs are ineffective in the
overexpanded flow, as in that case an adverse pressure gradient exists near the
nozzle exit which reduces the pressure differential produced by tabs. It is also
identified that variation of tab length for a given width did not seem to make
much difference as long as the length was larger than the boundary layer

3.4 Summary

Several studies have reported results with variations in flow field conditions as
well as tab shape, size, number and angle.

1. Appreciably faster decay of the centreline velocity for one, two, four and six
tab cases, relative to the reference case.

2. Mixing enhancement is greater for supersonic cases than subsonic cases.

3. Heating the jet provides no significant change in the effectiveness of the tabs.

4. Smaller tabs have less effect in distorting the jet tab width is more critical
than tab height.
5. A tab height greater than the boundary layer thickness is required, to be

6. Tab is effective in the presence of favourable pressure gradient at the nozzle


7. Tab shape (rectangular vs triangular) has little effect on tab performance.

8. Orientation or angle of the tab is more critical than shape; triangular tab
leaning 45o downstream, referred to as a delta tab, has the greatest effect.