Success in the call ‘“PROYECTOS DE GENERACIÓN DE CONOCIMIENTO. Convocatoria 2022’ (PID 2022). The Aerospace Engineering Group receives 364.000 € in funding.

Here are some details of the funded projects:

FLAP-TURB ( Aerodynamic characterisation and control of flapping wings in turbulent environments)

PI/PIs: Stefano Olivieri

Bio-inspired micro-aerial vehicles (MAVs) exploiting the flapping-flight capabilities of insects and birds are an attractive concept for innovative applications, e.g., in environmental monitoring and surveillance activities. Despite the progress in understanding the low-Reynolds-number unsteady aerodynamics involved in these systems, the current knowledge on flapping flight is essentially limited to the case where the free stream is laminar and unperturbed. On the other hand, MAVs typically operate within the atmospheric boundary layer at low flight velocities, thus often experiencing high turbulent intensity fluctuations. Furthermore, the characteristic length-scales and velocities of the flow disturbances are typically comparable to those of the MAV itself, a condition that is far from those experienced by more conventional aircraft. To advance our knowledge towards more realistic flight conditions, the following questions need to be properly addressed: (i) How do free-stream turbulence/perturbations affect the aerodynamic performance and the characteristic flow physics of a flapping wing? (ii) What are the most convenient strategies to mitigate the aerodynamic load disturbances induced by the flow perturbations on flapping wings? The goal of the present project, FLAP-TURB, is to address these questions by obtaining a detailed characterization on the influence of flow perturbations with well-defined properties (i.e., turbulence intensity, integral length-scale, scale-by-scale energy distribution) on the aerodynamics of flapping wings, consequently enabling a physically based development of effective control strategies. We will tackle the problem by means of a computational approach based on high-fidelity direct numerical simulations (DNS) to generate full datasets of time-resolved, three-dimensional velocity and pressure fields that will be analysed using statistical tools and modal reduction techniques. This will allow us to identify the peculiar mechanisms arising in the complex interaction between the flapping-wing vortex dynamics and the free-stream turbulent structures. Hence, we will go beyond the analysis of such effects with the goal of devising potential control strategies, both of active and passive nature, able to effectively mitigate the impact of the flow disturbances and enhance the aerodynamic performance of bio-inspired MAVs in turbulent environments.

Funded (€): 119.000 €

EXCALIBUR (EXtraCting mAchine-LearnIng strategies for turBUlent flow contRol)

PI/PIs: Stefano Discetti & Andrea Ianiro

The main objective of EXCALIBUR is to assess the feasibility of closed-loop control for turbulent flows, leveraging the search for actuation manifolds to ease the identification of optimal control laws. EXCALIBUR is a continuation of previous projects that have studied the role of coherent structures in turbulent convective heat transfer and the identification of interpretable and scalable strategies active flow control in wall-bounded and jet flows.
The project will focus on using machine learning techniques, such as Genetic Programming or Deep Reinforcement Learning, to find optimal or sub-optimal control strategies and will also aim to make the control laws as simple and interpretable as possible to provide physical insights from laboratory experiments.
The project is expected to produce novel fundamental knowledge in system identification for chaotic turbulent systems, and in sensor/actuator theory and design. The control strategies developed throughout the project will also pave the way toward a novel understanding of the flow physics of jet and wall-bounded turbulence, with potential applications in aviation, wind energy, and other industrial sectors. EXCALIBUR will have in the medium/long term socio-economic impact in the areas of climate-neutral and environment-friendly mobility, clean and sustainable transition of the energy and transport sectors towards climate neutrality.

A FPI PhD fellowship has also been funded, within the framework of the project EXCALIBUR.

Funded (€): 245.500 €

Congratulations to the PIs and the teams of the funded proposals!