Testing in Aerodynamics Research at ONERA: the Example of the Transonic Buffet


L. Jacquin, V. Brion, P. Molton, D. Sipp, J. Dandois, S. Deck, F. Sartor, E. Coustols (ONERA)
D. Caruana (ISAE)

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The paper reviews research conducted at ONERA over the last thirty years on the transonic buffet. We first present the transonic buffet phenomenon and we explain its importance for aeronautical applications. Then, a distinction is made between the 2D buffet produced by an airfoil and the 3D buffet that characterizes swept wings of finite span. The 2D buffet amounts to a pure oscillation of the shock phase-locked with the detachment and reattachment of the boundary layer downstream, whereas the 3D buffet takes the form of a pocket of broadband perturbations located in a limited portion of the wing. We recall that these mechanisms were first studied in the 1980s through a series of tests conducted in the transonic wind tunnel ONERA T2 at Toulouse and in the large transonic wind tunnel ONERA S2Ma at Modane. Since this pioneering work, progress in the measurement techniques has led to the constitution of a comprehensive database of the 2D buffet that we describe. This database,  obtained in the wind tunnel ONERA S3Ch at Meudon, has been extensively used to validate various CFD tools, with the latter being used in turn to investigate the buffet physics. We illustrate this collaboration between simulation and physics by recalling that a linear stability analysis of accurate Reynolds-Averaged-Navier-Stokes (RANS) solutions made it possible to prove that the buffet on a 2D airfoil stems from a global instability mechanism. We also review more recent tests done in the case of a laminar airfoil, which reveal very distinct behaviors of the buffet flow. This illustrates how sensitive the buffet is to the nature of the boundary layer. The last section of the paper gives a short overview of advanced simulations for these different test cases. In the conclusion, we list research perspectives, which include some more general topics such as data assimilation.