In boundary-layer flows, one may reduce skin-friction drag by delaying the onset of laminar-to-turbulent transition via the attenuation of small-amplitude Tollmien–Schlichting (TS) waves. In this work, we use numerical simulations and experiments to compare the robustness of adaptive and model-based techniques for reducing the growth of two-dimensional TS disturbances. In numerical simulations, the optimal linear quadratic Gaussian (LQG) regulator shows the best performance under the conditions it was designed for. However, it is found that the performance deteriorates linearly with the drift of the Reynolds number from its nominal value. As a result, an order-of-magnitude loss of performance is observed when applying the computation-based LQG controller in wind-tunnel experiments. In contrast, it is shown that the adaptive filtered-X least-mean-squares (FXLMS) algorithm is able to maintain an essentially constant performance for significant deviations of the nominal values of the disturbance amplitude and Reynolds number.
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