On the effect of velvet structures on trailing edge noise: Experimental investigation and theoretical analysis: Journal of Fluid Mechanics

P. Zhou, S. Zhong, X. Zhang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review


This study is inspired by the velvety structures on an owl's upper wing surface. Anechoic wind tunnel experiments were conducted to study the effect of the velvety structures on trailing edge noise as well as the boundary layer flow of a flat plate model. The tests were conducted in The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology low-speed wind tunnel, ultra-quiet noise injection test and evaluation device (UNITED). It was found that the trailing edge noise spectra are significantly modified by the velvety structures. In general, the velvety structures increase the low-frequency noise below a cross-over Strouhal number but reduce the spectral level at higher frequencies. The velvety surface also changes the boundary layer characteristics in terms of the boundary layer thickness, non-dimensional velocity distribution and turbulence distribution. Vortex shedding is suppressed by the velvety coating despite the blunt trailing edge. An analytic model is proposed for the trailing edge noise of a flat plate, including the effect of finite trailing edge thickness and velvety structures on the flat plate surface. The model uses the near wake distribution of the mean and fluctuating velocities in the streamwise direction as the input. The predictions, which require no empirical corrections, match well with the experiments for both the baseline and velvet-coated configurations. With a detailed non-dimensional analysis, this study proposes a potential aeroacoustic function of velvet structures, i.e. noise control through manipulation of boundary layer statistics. © 2021 Cambridge University Press. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJ. Fluid Mech.
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • China
  • Hong Kong
  • Aeroacoustics
  • Boundary layer flow
  • Boundary layers
  • Silk
  • Wind tunnels
  • Anechoic wind tunnels
  • Boundary layer thickness
  • Boundary-layer statistics
  • Experimental investigations
  • Fluctuating velocities
  • Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
  • Low-speed wind tunnel
  • Nondimensional analysis
  • boundary layer
  • flow modeling
  • flow velocity
  • fluid dynamics
  • numerical model
  • turbulence
  • vortex flow
  • Plates (structural components)
  • aeroacoustics
  • noise control


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