, Volume 41, Issue 2, pp 319-326
Date: 11 May 2006

Scanning PIV measurements of a laminar separation bubble

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Scanning PIV is applied to a laminar separation bubble to investigate the spanwise structure and dynamics of the roll-up of vortices within the bubble. The laminar flow separation with turbulent reattachment is studied on the suction side of an airfoil SD7003 at Reynolds numbers of 20,000–60,000. The flow is recorded with a CMOS high-speed camera in successive light-sheet planes over a time span of 1–2 s to resolve the temporal evolution of the flow in the different planes. The results show the quasi-periodic development of large vortex-rolls at the downstream end of the separation bubble, which have a convex structure and an extension of 10–20% chord length in the spanwise direction. These vortices possess an irregular spanwise pattern. The evolution process of an exemplary vortex structure is shown in detail starting from small disturbances within the separation bubble transforming into a compact vortex at the downstream end of the separation bubble. As the vortex grows in size and strength it reaches a critical state that leads to an abrupt burst of the vortex with a large ejection of fluid into the mean flow.