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Robustness of distributed micron-sized roughness-element for transition control

European Union
Complete with results
Geo-spatial type
Total project cost
€500 000
EU Contribution
€375 000
Project Acronym
STRIA Roadmaps
Vehicle design and manufacturing (VDM)
Transport mode
Airborne icon
Transport policies
Societal/Economic issues,
Transport sectors
Passenger transport,
Freight transport


Call for proposal
Link to CORDIS

Transition control in three-dimensional flows by means of distributed Micron-Sized Roughness-elements (MSR) has been under focus during the last decade. The successful experiments of Prof. Saric and his research group have created lots of attention and interest. In the reported work by Saric et al. always a significant positive effect of MSR on delay of transition has been observed. Similar attempts to control transition in three-dimensional flows by means of MSR have not been successful in the same degree. It has argued that the differences in the outcome of the experiments may be due to small differences in the level of noise (acoustic and free-stream turbulence) in the wind tunnels used in the experiments.

To our knowledge there are no investigations that really address the sensitivity and robustness of the MSR for transition control in three-dimensional flows. The objective of the proposed activities was to, numerically and experimentally address these issues.

The carefully performed numerical simulations allowed us to characterise the effects of acoustic and vortical perturbations separately or simultaneously. A controlled variation of level of ‘noise’ made it possible to understand the limitations of the MSR approach. The direct numerical simulations were accompanied with the non-linear stability calculations using the Parabolised Stability Equations (PSE). These calculations were much faster and cheaper in terms of computational costs. This made it possible to do a wide variation of parameters.

Carefully performed experimental investigations in a low-disturbance environment also generated valuable information and data. Experiments with controlled acoustic perturbations and turbulence level completed the direct numerical simulations and were used to validate the numerical results.


Parent Programmes
Institution Type
Public institution
Institution Name
European Commission
Type of funding
Public (EU)
Specific funding programme
JTI-CS - Joint Technology Initiatives - Clean Sky
Other Programme
JTI-CS-2011-1-SFWA-01-034 Analysis of sensitivity/robustness of distributed micron-sized roughness elements (MSR) for transition delay


Executive Summary:

The aim of the RODTRAC project was to understand the impact of acoustic waves and freestream turbulence on stability characteristics of three-dimensional boundary layers in presences of roughness elements. The investigations included both numerical and experimental studies.

Detailed laminar-turbulent transition measurements had been performed in ITAM’s wind tunnel, which had an excellent flow quality suitable for this kind of studies. Experiments have verified the possibility of transition control by distributed micron-size roughness elements. Further, effects of freestream turbulence level and acoustic perturbation on efficiency of this control method have been investigated.

Accurate numerical simulations have been performed to study similar issues. Analysis of interaction of freestream turbulence and surface roughness elements showed new and non-intuitive results, explaining some recent flight tests.

The performed research work had increased our understanding of interaction of surface inhomogeneity and external perturbations sources (e.g. freestream turbulence and acoustic perturbations). The obtained knowledge is of great importance for design of wings with laminar flow.


Lead Organisation
Kungliga Tekniska Hoegskolan
Brinellvagen 8, 100 44 Stockholm, Sweden
EU Contribution
€299 399
Partner Organisations
Totalforsvarets Forskningsinstitut
Gullfossgatan, 164 90 Stockholm, Sweden
Organisation website
EU Contribution
€75 602


Technology Theme
Computer-aided design and engineering
Improvement of transition-prediction tools for future laminar flow aircraft
Development phase

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