Dynamics and control of high-reynolds-number flow over open cavities

Clarence Worth Rowley, David R. Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

341 Scopus citations


We review recent advances in understanding, modeling, and controlling oscillations in the flow past a cavity. The fundamental mechanisms underlying cavity flow oscillations have been known for at least 40 years, but suppressing these oscillations in a reliable and robust way is still a challenge today. Interest in controlling the flow past a cavity is motivated by aerospace applications, but in addition, cavity flows provide an attractive canonical problem for exploring general flow control techniques. The focus is on recent advances in modeling these flows, and in controlling them, using both open-loop and closed-loop techniques. A relatively new perspective is that cavity oscillations may not always be self-sustained, but under some flow conditions may be lightly damped resonances, sustained by external disturbances such as boundary layer turbulence. Areas in which our understanding is incomplete, and which deserve further study, are discussed, in particular the effects of high-frequency open-loop forcing, fundamental limitations of feedback control for a given configuration of sensors and actuators, and the development of a feedback design methodology that respects the limited range of validity of the available dynamical models.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)251-276
Number of pages26
JournalAnnual Review of Fluid Mechanics
StatePublished - 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Condensed Matter Physics


  • Cavity flow
  • Closed-loop control
  • Self-sustained oscillations


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