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Title:
OSCILLATING VANE ACTUATOR APPARATUS AND METHOD FOR ACTIVE FLOW CONTROL
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2008/048217
Kind Code:
A2
Abstract:
An oscillating vane actuator for active control of fluid flow over a surface (24) includes a pivoted vane (16) surrounded by a wedge-shaped chamber (18), and first (20) and second (26) conduits with openings adjacent the surface (24). The actuator also includes a rotating shaft with a connecting rod to actuate the vane (16) in a oscillatory manner." As the vane (16) travels in one direction, fluid is forced out from the chamber through the first conduit (20) and opening (22) into the fluid stream adjacent the surface, while fluid is simultaneously drawn in through the second opening (28) and conduit (26) into the opposite side of the chamber (18). Similarly, when the vane (16) travels in the opposite direction, fluid is forced out through the second conduit (26) and opening (28) into the fluid stream adjacent the surface (24), while fluid is simultaneously drawn in through the first opening (22) and conduit (24).

Inventors:
POWELL, Arthur, G. (14134 Windjammer Lane, Westminister, CA, 92683, US)
Application Number:
US2006/029118
Publication Date:
April 24, 2008
Filing Date:
July 26, 2006
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
THE BOEING COMPANY (100 N. Riverside Plaza, Chicago, IL, 60606-2016, US)
POWELL, Arthur, G. (14134 Windjammer Lane, Westminister, CA, 92683, US)
International Classes:
B64C21/02
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
WOO, Euclid (THE BOING COMPANY, MC 110-SD54P.O. Box 251, Seal Beach CA, 90740-1515, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:

What is claimed is:

1. An actuator for displacing a fluid to alter flow characteristics near a surface, comprising: a vane configured to displace the fluid, the vane having a first face and a second face; a casing configured to at least partially surround the vane, the casing having a first side toward the first face of the vane and a second side toward the second face of the vane; and a first orifice that opens into the casing from the first side of the casing, wherein the fluid is expelled from the first orifice when the vane travels toward the first side of the casing, and the fluid is drawn into the first orifice when the vane travels toward the second side of the casing.

2. The actuator of claim 1 , further comprising a first conduit configured to convey the fluid into and out from the casing by way of the first orifice, the first conduit having an opposite first opening that opens into a fluid stream adjacent the surface.

3. The actuator of claim 2, wherein the first opening is configured to direct the expelled fluid generally toward a direction of flow of the fluid stream.

4. The actuator of claim 2, further comprising: an intake conduit that branches off from the first conduit, the intake conduit having a normal intake opening that opens into the fluid stream adjacent the surface upstream of the first opening; and a one-way valve installed in the intake conduit to inhibit fluid flow out through the intake opening, and to allow fluid flow into the intake opening and through the intake conduit to the first conduit.

5. The actuator of claim 1 , further comprising a second orifice that opens into the casing from the second side of the casing, wherein the fluid is expelled from the first orifice and drawn into the second

orifice when the vane travels toward the first side of the casing, and the fluid is drawn into the first orifice and expelled from the second orifice when the vane travels toward the second side of the casing.

6. The actuator of claim 5, further comprising: a first conduit configured to convey the fluid into and out from the casing by way of the first orifice, the first conduit having an opposite first opening that opens into a fluid stream adjacent the surface; and a second conduit configured to convey the fluid into and out from the casing by way of the second orifice, the second conduit having an opposite second opening that opens into the fluid stream adjacent the surface.

7. The actuator of claim 6, wherein the first opening and the second opening are configured to direct the expelled fluid generally toward a direction of flow of the fluid stream.

8. The actuator of claim 1, wherein the vane and the casing are further configured to have a substantially fluid-tight clearance between a perimeter of the vane and an inner wall of the casing.

9. The actuator of claim 1, further comprising: a drive shaft operably coupled to the vane, wherein the drive shaft is configured to transfer a motive force to actuate the vane in order to move the vane in an oscillating motion; and a rotational actuator coupled to the drive shaft and configured to rotate the drive shaft.

10. The actuator of claim 1, further comprising a pivot, wherein the casing defines an internal wedge-shaped chamber and the pivot is coupled to the casing and the vane is coupled to the pivot such that the vane can rotate within the chamber in an arc about a longitudinal axis of the vane.

11. The actuator of claim 10, wherein the casing has a first end and a second end, the actuator further comprising: a curved slot in the first end of the casing; a drive shaft operably coupled to the vane, wherein the drive shaft is configured to transfer a motive force to actuate the vane in order to move the vane in an oscillating motion; a rotational actuator coupled to the drive shaft and configured to rotate the drive shaft; a connecting rod rotatably coupled to the drive shaft at a radial distance from a central axis of the drive shaft and rotatably coupled to the vane through the curved slot at an offset distance from the pivot, wherein the drive shaft transfers the motive force to actuate the vane by way of the connecting rod; and a sliding seal slidably coupled to the curved slot, configured to substantially inhibit the fluid from passing into or out from the chamber through the curved slot, and through which the connecting rod can be coupled to the drive shaft.

12. The actuator of claim 10, wherein the casing has a first end and a second end, the actuator further comprising: a drive shaft operably coupled to the vane, wherein the drive shaft is configured to transfer a motive force to actuate the vane in order to move the vane in an oscillating motion; a rotational actuator coupled to the drive shaft and configured to rotate the drive shaft; an extension that axially extends from the pivot through the first end of the casing; a linkage arm fixedly coupled to the extension; and a connecting rod rotatably coupled to the drive shaft at a radial distance from the central axis of the drive shaft and rotatably coupled to the linkage arm, wherein the drive shaft transfers the motive force to actuate the vane by way of the connecting rod and the linkage arm.

13. The actuator of claim 1, further comprising an aerodynamic surface configured to allow an adjacent fluid stream to flow with a velocity relative to the aerodynamic surface.

14. The actuator of claim 13, wherein the aerodynamic surface comprises at least part of a chord of an airfoil.

15. An actuator for displacing a fluid to alter flow characteristics near a surface, comprising: means for displacing the fluid; means for at least partially surrounding the displacing means, the surrounding means having a second side and a first side; and first means for accessing the first side of the surrounding means, wherein the fluid is expelled from the first accessing means when the displacing means travels toward the first side of the surrounding means, and the fluid is drawn into the first accessing means when the displacing means travels toward the second side of the surrounding means.

16. The actuator of 15, further comprising first means for conveying the fluid into and out from the surrounding means by way of the first accessing means, the first conveying means having an opposite first means for opening into a fluid stream adjacent the surface.

17. The actuator of 16, wherein the first opening means is configured to direct the expelled fluid generally toward a direction of the flow of the fluid stream.

18. The actuator of 16, further comprising: intake means for conveying the fluid into the first conveying means, the intake means having normal means for opening into the fluid stream upstream of the first opening; and one-way flow control means installed in the intake means to inhibit fluid flow out through the normal opening means, and to allow fluid flow into the normal opening means and through the intake means to the first conveying means.

19. The actuator of 15, further comprising second means for accessing a second side of the surrounding means, wherein the fluid is expelled from the first accessing means and drawn into the second accessing means when the displacing means travels toward the first side of the surrounding means, and the fluid is drawn into the first accessing means and expelled from the second accessing means when the displacing means travels toward the second side of the surrounding means.

20. The actuator of 19, further comprising: first means for conveying the fluid into and out from the surrounding means by way of the first accessing means, the first conveying means having an opposite first means for opening into a fluid stream adjacent the surface; and second means for conveying the fluid into and out from the surrounding means by way of the second accessing means, the second conveying means having an opposite second means for opening into a fluid stream adjacent the surface.

21. The actuator of 20, wherein the first and second opening means are configured to direct the expelled fluid generally toward a direction of the flow of the fluid stream.

22. The actuator of claim 15, wherein the displacing means and the surrounding means are further configured to have a substantially fluid-tight clearance between a perimeter of the displacing means and an inner wall of the surrounding means.

23. The actuator of claim 15, further comprising: means for driving operably coupled to the displacing means, wherein the driving means is configured to transfer a motive force to actuate the vane in order to move the vane in an oscillating motion; and

rotational means for actuating coupled to the driving means and configured to rotate the driving means.

24. The actuator of claim 15 , further comprising means for pivoting, wherein the surrounding means defines an internal wedge-shaped chamber and the pivoting means is coupled to the surrounding means and the displacing means is coupled to the pivoting means such that the displacing means can rotate within the chamber in an arc about a longitudinal axis of the displacing means.

25. The actuator of claim 24, wherein the surrounding means has a first end and a second end, the actuator, further comprising: curved means for penetrating the first end of the surrounding means; means for driving operably coupled to the displacing means, wherein the driving means is configured to transfer a motive force to actuate the vane in order to move the vane in an oscillating motion; rotational means for actuating coupled to the driving means and configured to rotate the driving means; means for connecting rotatably coupled to the driving means at a radial distance from a central axis of the driving means and rotatably coupled to the displacing means through the penetrating means at an offset distance from the pivoting means, wherein the driving means transfers the motive force to actuate the displacing means by way of the connecting means; and means for sealing slidably coupled to the penetrating means, configured to substantially inhibit the fluid from passing into or out from the surrounding means through the penetrating means, and through which the connecting rod can be coupled to the drive shaft.

26. The actuator of claim 24, wherein the surrounding means has a first end and a second end, the actuator further comprising:

means for driving operably coupled to the displacing means, wherein the driving means is configured to transfer a motive force to actuate the vane in order to move the vane in an oscillating motion; rotational means for actuating coupled to the driving means and configured to rotate the driving means; means for axially extending the pivoting means through the first end of the surrounding means; means for linking fixedly coupled to the extending means; and means for connecting rotatably coupled to the driving means at a radial distance from the central axis of the driving means and rotatably coupled to the linking means, wherein the driving means transfers the motive force to actuate the displacing means by way of the connecting means and the linking means.

27. The actuator of claim 15, further comprising aerodynamic surface means for allowing an adjacent fluid stream to flow with a velocity relative to the aerodynamic surface means.

28. The actuator of claim 27, wherein the aerodynamic surface means comprises at least part of a means for creating aerodynamic lift.

29. A method of displacing a fluid to alter flow characteristics near a surface, comprising: displacing the fluid using a vane in a casing configured to at least partially surround the vane; conveying the fluid out from a first side of the casing and expelling the fluid into a fluid stream adjacent the surface when the vane travels toward the first side of the casing; and drawing the fluid from the fluid stream and conveying the fluid into the first side of the casing when the vane travels toward a second side of the casing.

30. The method of claim 29, further comprising:

conveying the fluid out from the second side of the casing and expelling the fluid into the fluid stream when the vane travels toward the second side of the casing; and drawing the fluid from the fluid stream and conveying the fluid into the second side of the casing when the vane travels toward the first side of the casing.

31. The method of claim 29, wherein the fluid is expelled generally toward a direction of the flow of the fluid stream.

Description:

OSCILLATING VANE ACTUATOR APPARATUS AND METHOD FOR ACTIVE FLOW CONTROL

GOVERNMENT UCENSE RIGHTS

[0001] The U.S. Government has a paid-up license in this invention and the right in limited circumstances to require the patent owner to license others on reasonable terms as provided for by the terms of Contract No. NAS2-03003 awarded by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0002] The present invention relates generally to flow control actuation. More particularly, the present invention relates to an actuation apparatus and method to provide active flow control of flow over a surface.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0003] Fluid flow separation can occur when a compressible or incompressible fluid flows over a surface, in particular a convex curved surface, such as an interior surface of a fluid conduit or an exterior surface of a body immersed in a fluid. Flow separation can occur under laminar or turbulent flow conditions, depending upon the boundary layer fluid flow characteristics and the geometry of the surface. It is often desirable to inhibit flow separation in order to reduce form drag or in order to increase aerodynamic lift. In general, the farther along a curved surface that a fluid travels before separation, the better the resulting form drag and aerodynamic lift. [0004] hi the case of aerodynamic surfaces, the aerodynamic performance or efficiency of a particular surface, for example an airfoil, such as an airplane wing, rotor blade, turbine or compressor blade, windmill, fan or propeller blade, is strongly dependent on the lift force generated by the airfoil. To this end, active flow control (AFC) techniques have been utilized to increase the lift of airfoils by inhibiting or delaying separation of the fluid flow over the aerodynamic surface. [0005] Active flow control techniques include providing ports or openings in the surface of an

airfoil, and providing steady air flow into or out from the ports or openings, or unsteady (e.g., alternating) fluid flow into and out from the ports and openings. Active flow control techniques have proven to be effective in increasing the lift coefficient of airfoils, decreasing the drag coefficient, or both, thereby increasing the aerodynamic performance or efficiency of the airfoil. [0006] Active flow control techniques are particularly advantageous under conditions where large flow separation over an aerodynamic surface would otherwise exist. Such conditions are common at airfoil leading-edge slats and trailing-edge flaps during periods during which high lift is generated.

[0007] The high lift auxiliary surfaces, such as leading-edge slats or trailing-edge flaps, are required primarily during relatively slow-speed flight, or during take-off and landing. The potential lift performance generally is not reached and a drag penalty generally occurs during the deployment of leading-edge slats or trailing-edge flaps due to the creation of localized flow separation regions. The size of these flow separation regions depends on factors such as the free stream angle of attack, the relative flow velocity of the fluid stream with respect to the aerodynamic surface, the airfoil chord lines, geometry and the deflection angle of the leading-edge slats or the trailing-edge flaps. [0008] By reducing or inhibiting flow separation, a corresponding increase in lift and reduction in drag can be achieved. Active flow control methods can reduce or inhibit flow separation, for example, by introducing relatively high-velocity fluid flow into the fluid stream immediately above the aerodynamic surface in order to increase the kinetic energy of the fluid stream boundary layer, thereby maintaining attachment of the boundary layer farther along the surface. Similarly, removing relatively low-velocity fluid from the flow stream adjacent the aerodynamic surface can result in a net increase of the kinetic energy of the flow stream boundary layer and help to reduce or inhibit flow separation. However, some existing active flow control methods and devices can be prohibitively fragile or heavy, and can have limited power capacity.

[0009] Accordingly, it is desirable to provide a method and apparatus that provides active flow control and is robust against physical damage, lightweight, and has a relatively high power capacity.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0010] The foregoing needs are met, to a great extent, by the present invention, wherein in one aspect an apparatus is provided that in some embodiments provides actuation of unsteady active flow control using a robust oscillating vane that is less susceptible to physical damage, is relatively lightweight and has a higher power capacity in comparison with some existing active flow control actuators.

[0011] In accordance with one aspect of the present invention, an actuator for displacing a fluid to alter flow characteristics near a surface can include a vane configured to displace the fluid, having a first face and a second face. The actuator also can include a casing configured to at least partially surround the vane, having a first side toward the first face of the vane and a second side toward the second face of the vane. In addition, the actuator can include a first orifice that opens into the casing from the first side of the casing. In operation, the fluid is expelled from the first orifice when the vane travels toward the first side of the casing, and the fluid is drawn into the first orifice when the vane travels toward the second side of the casing. [0012] In accordance with another aspect of the present invention, the actuator can also include a second orifice that opens into the casing from the second side of the casing. In this configuration, the fluid is expelled from the first orifice and drawn into the second orifice when the vane travels toward the first side of the casing, and the fluid is drawn into the first orifice and expelled from the second orifice when the vane travels toward the second side of the casing. [0013] In accordance with yet another aspect of the present invention, an actuator for displacing a fluid to alter flow characteristics near a surface can include means for displacing the fluid and means for at least partially surrounding the displacing means, the surrounding means having a second side and a first side, hi addition, the actuator can include first means for accessing the first side of the surrounding means. In operation, the fluid is expelled from the first accessing means when the displacing means travels toward the first side of the surrounding means, and the fluid is drawn into the first accessing means when the displacing means travels toward the second side of the surrounding means.

[0014] In accordance with still another aspect of the present invention, a method of displacing a fluid to alter flow characteristics near a surface can include displacing the fluid using a vane in a casing configured to at least partially surround the vane. The method can further include conveying the fluid out from a first side of the casing and expelling the fluid into a fluid stream adjacent the surface when the vane travels toward the first side of the casing, and drawing the fluid from the fluid stream and conveying the fluid into the first side of the casing when the vane travels toward a second side of the casing.

[0015] There has thus been outlined, rather broadly, certain embodiments of the invention in order that the detailed description thereof herein may be better understood, and in order that the present contribution to the art may be better appreciated. There are, of course, additional embodiments of the invention that will be described below and which will form the subject matter of the claims appended hereto.

[0016] In this respect, before explaining at least one embodiment of the invention in detail, it is to be understood that the invention is not limited in its application to the details of construction and to the arrangements of the components set forth in the following description or illustrated in the drawings.

The invention is capable of embodiments in addition to those described and of being practiced and carried out in various ways. Also, it is to be understood that the phraseology and terminology employed herein, as well as the abstract, are for the purpose of description and should not be regarded as limiting.

[0017] As such, those skilled in the art will appreciate that the conception upon which this disclosure is based may readily be utilized as a basis for the designing of other structures, methods and systems for carrying out the several purposes of the present invention. It is important, therefore, that the claims be regarded as including such equivalent constructions insofar as they do not depart from the spirit and scope of the present invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0018] FIG. 1 is a cross-section view illustrating an oscillating vane actuator according to a preferred embodiment of the invention that can provide active flow control to reduce flow separation in a fluid stream flowing over a leading-edge slat of an airfoil. [0019] FIG. 2 is a cross-section view of an oscillating vane actuator according to another preferred embodiment of the invention that can provide active flow control to reduce flow separation in a fluid stream flowing over a trailing-edge flap of an airfoil.

[0020] FIG. 3 is a cross-section detail view of a dual-ported oscillating vane actuator that can be used in the embodiments of FIG. 1 and FIG. 2. [0021] FIG. 4 is a cross-section detail view of a single-ported oscillating vane actuator that can be used in the embodiments of FIG. 1 and FIG. 2.

[0022] FIG. 5 is a partially cutaway perspective view of a single-ported oscillating vane actuator installed in an airfoil.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0023] An embodiment in accordance with the present invention provides an oscillating vane actuator that can provide active flow control of a fluid stream passing over an aerodynamic surface, which may be planar, curved or contoured. The oscillating vane actuator can include a vane, a wedge- shaped chamber surrounding the vane, a first conduit with an opening adjacent the surface, a second conduit with another opening adjacent the surface, a rotating shaft and a connecting rod. The openings open into a fluid stream flowing with a velocity relative to the aerodynamic surface. The rotating shaft provides a motive force by way of the connecting rod to move the vane back and forth in an arc about a pivot within the wedge-shaped chamber.

[0024] When the vane travels in one direction, fluid is forced out from the chamber through the first conduit on one side of the wedge-shaped chamber, and fluid is drawn into the chamber through the second conduit on the opposite side of the wedge-shaped chamber. When the vane travels in the

opposite direction, fluid is forced out of the chamber through the second conduit, and fluid is drawn into the chamber from the first conduit.

[0025] The invention will now be described with reference to the drawing figures, in which like reference numerals refer to like parts throughout. An embodiment is shown in FIG. 1, which illustrates a dual-ported oscillating vane actuator 10 located within a leading-edge slat 12 of an airfoil 14, such as a main wing of an airplane. (Although depicted as solid objects in FIG. 1, the slat 12 and the airfoil 14 can have any suitable internal structure.) The oscillating vane actuator 10 can include a vane 16 that travels back and forth inside of a wedge-shaped chamber 18. The actuator 10 can also include a first conduit 20 that leads from the chamber 18 to a first opening 22, or port, adjacent the aerodynamic surface 24. The actuator 10 further can include a second conduit 26 that leads from the opposite side of the chamber 18 to a second opening 28 adjacent the aerodynamic surface 24. In various embodiments, the first and second openings 22, 28 may be formed by the aerodynamic surface, or may be separate but adjacent to the aerodynamic surface 24.

[0026] An alternative embodiment of the invention is shown in FIG. 2, which illustrates a dual- ported oscillating vane actuator 10 that is located within a trailing-edge flap 30 of an airfoil 14, such as an airplane wing. (Once again, although depicted as solid objects in FIG. 2, the airfoil 14 and the flap 30 can have any suitable internal structure.) In this embodiment also, the actuator 10 can include a vane 16 inside a chamber 18. The actuator 10 further can include a first conduit 20 that leads from the chamber 18 to an opening 22 adjacent the aerodynamic surface 24 of the flap 30. Likewise, the actuator 10 can include a second conduit 26 that leads from the chamber 18 to a second opening 28 adjacent the aerodynamic surface 24.

[0027] Additional embodiments of the oscillating vane actuator 10 can be used to reduce or inhibit flow separation on any surface over which a fluid stream flows, for example, curved interior surfaces of ducts or conduits, exterior surfaces of aquatic vehicles, fuselage surfaces on airplanes and other aircraft, etc.

[0028] In operation, the oscillating vane actuators 10 in both embodiments shown in FIG. 1 and FIG.2, can provide unsteady active flow control to reduce or inhibit flow separation of a fluid stream 32 flowing with a velocity relative to the aerodynamic surface 24. When the vane 16 travels toward the left as indicated by the arrows in FIG. 1 or FIG. 2, fluid is forced out of the chamber 18 through the first conduit 20 and out of the first opening 22 into the fluid stream 32 passing over the aerodynamic surface 24, and fluid is simultaneously drawn into the chamber 18 by way of the second opening 28 and the second conduit 26. Similarly, when the vane 16 travels toward the right as indicated in FIG. 1 or FIG.2, fluid is forced out of the chamber 18 through the second conduit 26 and out of the second opening 28 into the fluid stream 32 passing over the aerodynamic surface 24, and fluid is simultaneously drawn into the chamber 18 by way of the first opening 22 and the first conduit 20.

[0029] In various embodiments, the openings 22, 28 can include any geometric cross-section, for example, a round opening, an elliptical opening, a square opening, or an elongated slot. A preferred embodiment of the invention includes two elongated openings 22, 28 that are relatively long in a direction along the width of an airfoil (in a normal direction into the page in FIG. 1) and are relatively thin in a direction along the chord of the aerodynamic surface 24. In a particular application, the length and dimensions of the first and second openings 22, 28 can be determined by the structure of the wing or other aerodynamic surface 24.

[0030] In addition, both the first opening 22 and the second opening 28 can be directed in the direction that the flow stream 32 is moving with respect to the aerodynamic surface 24, as shown in both FIG. 1 and FIG. 2. Thus, when air is forced out from the first opening 22 or the second opening 28, the augmented air flow ejected from the chamber 18 is introduced into the flow stream 32 moving in the direction of the flow stream 32 at a higher relative velocity with respect to the aerodynamic surface 24 than that of the boundary layer of the flow stream 32 immediately adjacent the aerodynamic surface 24.

[0031] Furthermore, in a preferred embodiment the first and second openings 22, 28 can be located near a point of potential flow separation along the chord of the aerodynamic surface in order to improve the velocity profile of the boundary layer of the adjacent flow stream 32. For example,

although the oscillating vane actuators 10 shown in FIG. 1 and FlG. 2 are located near the leading-edge of the slat 12 in FIG. 1 and the flap 30 in FIG. 2, in other embodiments the oscillating vane actuator 10 and more specifically, the first and second openings 22, 28, can be relocated at any point along the aerodynamic surface 24 near which flow separation can occur, such as at a location two-thirds of the length of the chord from the leading edge.

[0032] FIG. 3 shows a more detailed illustration of an embodiment of the dual-ported oscillating vane actuator 10. The actuator 10 can include a vane 16 having a first face 33 and a second face 35; a radius (or length) from a proximal end 36 of the vane 16 to a distal end 38 of the vane 38; a thickness, which can be tapered from the proximal end 36 of the vane 16 to the distal end 38 of the vane 16, or alternatively can be constant; and a width (into the page in FIG. 3), which can vary according to the needs of a particular application, as well as to accommodate the structure of the wing or other aerodynamic surface 24.

[0033] The vane 16 can be surrounded, at least in part, by a casing 17 that defines an internal wedge-shaped chamber 18, such that the vane 16 can travel back and forth (left and right in FIG. 3) inside the chamber 18. The chamber 18 is defined by the contour of the interior walls 40 of the casing 17, including a distal wall 41 that can be curved to match the radius of the vane 16. The proximal end of the vane 16 can be rounded, as shown in FIG. 3, and the distal end of the vane 16 can be curved to match the corresponding interior walls 40 of the casing 17. In a preferred embodiment, the casing 17 and the vane 16 can be designed so that the vane 16 has a minimal clearance at its proximal end 36 and at its distal end 38 with respect to the interior walls 40 of the casing 17, as the vane oscillates. Likewise, the edges 43 of the vane 16 facing into and out from the page in FIG. 3 can have a minimal clearance with the corresponding ends 45 of the casing 17, as the vane oscillates. (Only one of two edges 43 and one of two ends 45 are shown in FIG. 3, because the edge 43 facing into the page is not visible in this view and the near end 43 has been cut away in the cross section view of FIG. 3.) Therefore, a perimeter around the proximal end 36, the distal end 38, and the edges 45 of the vane 16 can have a substantially fluid- tight clearance with the walls 40 of the casing 17. Thus, fluid leakage around the perimeter of the vane

16 can have only an insignificant effect on the efficiency of the actuator 10, and lubrication is not required for the vane 16.

[0034] In addition, the vane 16 can be coupled by any suitable means to a pivot 34, for example, at a location near the proximal end 36 of the vane 16, as shown in FIG. 3. The pivot 34 can be fixedly attached to the casing 17, and the vane 16 can be rotationally attached to the pivot 34. Alternatively, the vane 16 can be fixedly attached to the pivot 34 and the pivot 34 can be rotationally attached to the casing

17 defining the chamber 18. hi either case, the pivot 34 can be attached to the casing 17 at one or both ends 45 of the casing 17, or at one or more intermediate points along the walls 40 of the casing 17.

[0035] Furthermore, the actuator 10 can include a first conduit 20 that leads from a first side 42 of the chamber 18 to a first opening 22, or port, adjacent the aerodynamic surface 24. The actuator 10 further can include a second conduit 26 that leads from a second side 44 of the chamber 18 to a second opening 28, or port, adjacent the aerodynamic surface 24. In a preferred embodiment of the invention, the first conduit 20 and the second conduit 26 can be tapered from a chamber end 46, 48, or orifice, to the respective openings 22, 28 such that the velocity of the fluid flowing out from the chamber 18 through the first conduit 20 or the second conduit 26 can increase in velocity as it travels from the chamber 18 to the respective opening 22, 28 adjacent the aerodynamic surface 24. In this case, fluid being drawn through the first opening 22 or the second opening 28 can be diffused as it travels through the respective first conduit 20 or the second conduit 26.

[0036] The inertial loads upon and stresses in the vane 16 increase with the frequency or periodicity of the oscillatory motion of the vane 16. The radius (or length) of the vane 16, the angle of the wedge-shaped chamber 18, and the frequency at which the vane 16 is oscillated can be determined according to the requirements of a particular application. Thus, a preferred embodiment of the oscillating vane actuator 10 can include a vane 16 of, for example, approximately three to six inches radius (or length) and a chamber with a side-to-side angle of approximately 60 degrees, and can be operated, for example, at a frequency below 20 Hertz. The clearance between the distal end 38 of the vane 16 and the distal wall 41 of the casing 17, the clearance between the proximal end 36 of the vane

16 and the corresponding wall 40 of the casing 17, or the clearance between the vane 16 and the ends 45 of the casing can be minimal, for example, between approximately 0.001 inch and approximately 0.025 inch.

[0037] Furthermore, a preferred embodiment can include a conduit taper of, for example, approximately six degrees from the chamber to the openings 20, 28 of the first and second conduits 20, 26. For example, a chamber end 46, 48, or orifice, of the first and second conduits 20, 26 can have a diameter (or thickness) of approximately 0.5 inch, and the openings 22, 28 can have a diameter (or thickness) of approximately 0.25 inch or less, depending in part on the length of the conduits 20, 26. hi addition, the openings 22, 28 can form an angle of approximately 20 degrees with the aerodynamic surface 24. Nevertheless, the geometry of the first and second conduits 20, 26 can be varied in accordance with the design requirements of a particular application of the oscillating vane actuator 10. As will be understood by one of ordinary skill in the art, the design factors regarding the specific size and shape of the vane 16, the casing 17, the conduits 20, 26 and the openings 22, 28 can vary between particular applications of the oscillating vane actuator 10. [0038] Moreover, the actuator 10 can include a rotating shaft 50 with a crank 52 connected to a connecting rod 54, which also can be connected to the vane 16, for example, by a shaft 56 at an offset distance from the pivot 34. The connections at the crank 52 and the shaft 56 can include a bearing surface to reduce friction, such as a roller bearing, ball bearing, or the like, as well as lubrication. In addition, sealed bearings can be used at the connections of the connecting rod 54 to the crank 52 and to the shaft 56, and the connections of the pivot 34 to the casing 17, or of the vane 16 to the pivot 34, such that maintenance lubrication is not required for the entire oscillating actuator 10. The crank 52 can be offset from the central axis 58 of the rotating shaft 50, so that as the rotating shaft 50 rotates, the vane 16 is actuated back and forth (left and right in FIG. 3) in an oscillatory motion inside the chamber 18.

[0039] hi this configuration, an end 45 (which has been cut away in the cross-section of FIG. 3) of the casing 17 that defines the wedge-shaped chamber 18 can include a slot 60 (represented by the dashed line in FIG. 3) through which a connecting mechanism, such as a shaft 56, can pass in order to

couple with the connecting rod 54. The slot 60 can be curved, as shown in FIG. 3, to correspond to the travel path of the shaft 56. In addition, the curved slot 60 can be sealed in an fluid-tight fashion, for example, using a sliding seal or any other suitable sealing means.

[0040] Thus, as the vane 16 travels in a direction toward the first side 42 of the chamber 18 (to the left in FIG. 3), fluid can be displaced from the first side 42 of the chamber 18 through the first conduit 20 and out through the first opening 22 adjacent the aerodynamic surface 24. Similarly, as the vane 16 travels in the opposite direction toward the second side 44 of the chamber 18 (to the right in FIG. 3), fluid can be displaced from the second side 44 of the chamber 18 through the second conduit 26 and out through the second opening 28 adjacent the aerodynamic surface 24. Simultaneously, as the vane 16 travels toward in the direction toward the first side 42 of the chamber 18 (to the left in FlG. 3), fluid is drawn in through the second opening 28 and the second conduit 26 into the second side 44 of the chamber 18. Likewise, when the vane 16 travels in the opposite direction toward the opposite side 44 of the chamber 18 (to the right in FIG. 3), fluid is drawn in through the first opening 22 adjacent the aerodynamic surface 24, through the first conduit 20 and into the first side 42 of the chamber 18. [0041] In this manner, at any given time during the operation of the oscillating vane actuator 10, fluid may be simultaneously forced out through one of either the first opening 22 or the second opening 28, and drawn into the opposite of the first opening 22 and the second opening 28 adjacent the aerodynamic surface 24, thereby providing unsteady air flow control of the boundary layer of the fluid stream flowing adjacent the aerodynamic surface 24. [0042] hi an alternative embodiment, the connecting rod 54 can be connected to a linkage arm 66

(shown in FIG. 5) that is coupled to an extension of the pivot 34 external to the chamber 18. In another alternative embodiment, the rotating shaft 50 can be connected to the pivot 34 in order to directly provide a rotational motive force to drive the vane 16 in an oscillatory motion inside the wedge-shaped chamber 18. In this latter embodiment, the connecting rod 54 and the shaft 56 can be omitted, and the curved slot 60 in the end 45 of the casing 17 is not required.

[0043] In various embodiments, the rotating shaft 50 can be driven by any source of rotational

power, such as an electric motor, a servo motor, a hydraulic or pneumatic actuator, or any of numerous suitable rotational actuators. Moreover, the rotating shaft 50, and any mechanism associated with the rotational actuator, can provide inertial momentum to aid in continuous actuation of the vane 16.

[0044] An alternative embodiment of the invention is shown in FIG.4, which illustrates a single- ported oscillating vane actuator 10. In this embodiment also, the oscillating vane actuator 10 can include a vane 16 coupled to a pivot 34 near a proximal end 36 of the vane 16, such that the vane 16 can travel back and forth inside of a wedge-shaped chamber 18 inside a casing 17. The actuator 10 can include a first conduit 20 that leads from the chamber 18 to a first opening 22, or port, adjacent the aerodynamic surface 24. As in the previous embodiments, the first conduit 20 can form an angle with the aerodynamic surface 24 near the first opening 22, and may be tapered from a chamber end 46 to the first opening 22. However, in this embodiment, the second side 44 of the casing opposite the first conduit 20 may be open to the atmosphere, as shown in FIG. 4. In addition, the connecting rod 54 may be coupled to a lug 68 that can be attached to the second face 35 of the vane 16. Alternatively, the connecting rod 54 may be coupled to the vane as described in the previous embodiments. [0045] Thus, when the vane 16 travels in a direction toward the first side 42 of the chamber 18

(to the right in FIG. 4), fluid can be displaced from the first side 42 of the chamber 18 through the first conduit 20 and out through the first opening 22 adj acent the aerodynamic surface 24. When the vane 16 travels in the opposite direction toward the second side 44 of the chamber 18 (to the left in FIG.4), fluid can be drawn in through the first opening 22 adjacent the aerodynamic surface 24, through the first conduit 20 and into the first side 42 of the chamber 18.

[0046] In addition, the actuator 10 optionally can include an intake conduit 62 that branches off from the first conduit 20 and leads to an intake opening 64 adjacent the aerodynamic surface 24. The intake conduit 62 can be approximately normal, or perpendicular, to the aerodynamic surface 24 near the intake opening 64, in order to facilitate entry of fluid adjacent the aerodynamic surface 24. In a preferred embodiment, the intake opening 64 can be located upstream of the first opening 22 in a relatively lower pressure ambient compared to that of the first opening 22. Thus, when the vane 16

travels in a direction toward the first side 42 of the chamber 18 (to the right in FIG. 4), fluid can be displaced from the first side 42 of the chamber 18 through the first conduit 20 and primarily out through the first opening 22 adjacent the aerodynamic surface 24. In order to prevent or minimize fluid flow out through the intake conduit 62 and the intake opening 64, a one-way valve 70, such as a reed valve, can be installed in the intake conduit 62. The one-way valve 70 can allow flow into the intake opening, but prevent or minimize flow out of the intake opening 64.

[0047] Thus, when the actuator 10 is configured with the optional intake conduit 64, as the vane 16 travels in the opposite direction toward the second side 44 of the chamber 18 (to the left in FIG. 4), fluid can be drawn in primarily through the intake opening 64, and then can travel through the intake conduit 62 and a portion of the first conduit 20 to reach the first side 42 of the chamber 18. In addition, some fluid may be simultaneously drawn in through the first opening 22 adjacent the aerodynamic surface 24, through the first conduit 20 and into the second side 44 of the chamber 18.

[0048] In FIG. 5, a perspective view of a single-ported oscillating vane actuator 10 is shown installed in an airfoil 14, such as an airplane wing. As described above, the oscillating vane actuator 10 can include a vane 16 coupled to a pivot 34, such that the vane 16 can travel back and forth inside of a wedge-shaped chamber 18 of a casing 17. InFIG. 5 the casing 17 is shown partially cut away to reveal the vane 16. The actuator 10 can include a first conduit 20 with a chamber end 46, or orifice, and a first opening 22 adjacent the aerodynamic surface 24 of the airfoil 14. In the embodiment of FIG. 5 the first opening 22 is shown as an elongated rectangular slot; however, in other embodiments the first opening 22 may have any suitable shape in accordance with the requirements of the particular application. Additionally, the actuator can include a rotating shaft 50 with a crank 52 connected to a connecting rod 54. In FIG. 5, the connecting rod is shown connected to a linkage arm 66, which is fixedly coupled to the pivot 34; nevertheless, in other embodiments the connecting rod 54 may be connected to the vane 16 by any suitable linkage or coupling, such as a shaft at an offset distance along the edge of the vane 16, or the connecting rod 54 may not be required.

[0049] The many features and advantages of the invention are apparent from the detailed

specification, and thus, it is intended by the appended claims to cover all such features and advantages of the invention which fall within the true spirit and scope of the invention. Further, since numerous modifications and variations will readily occur to those skilled in the art, it is not desired to limit the invention to the exact construction and operation illustrated and described, and accordingly, all suitable modifications and equivalents may be resorted to, falling within the scope of the invention.