Experiments in Fluids

, Volume 44, Issue 4, pp 609–622

Time-resolved and volumetric PIV measurements of a transitional separation bubble on an SD7003 airfoil

Research Article

DOI: 10.1007/s00348-007-0421-0

Cite this article as:
Burgmann, S., Dannemann, J. & Schröder, W. Exp Fluids (2008) 44: 609. doi:10.1007/s00348-007-0421-0


To comprehensively understand the effects of Kelvin–Helmholtz instabilities on a transitional separation bubble on the suction side of an airfoil regarding as to flapping of the bubble and its impact on the airfoil performance, the temporal and spatial structure of the vortices occurring at the downstream end of the separation bubble is investigated. Since the bubble variation leads to a change of the pressure distribution, the investigation of the instantaneous velocity field is essential to understand the details of the overall airfoil performance. This vortex formation in the reattachment region on the upper surface of an SD7003 airfoil is analyzed in detail at different angles of attack. At a Reynolds number Rec < 100,000 the laminar boundary layer separates at angles of attack >4°. Due to transition processes, turbulent reattachment of the separated shear layer occurs enclosing a locally confined recirculation region. To identify the location of the separation bubble and to describe the dynamics of the reattachment, a time-resolved PIV measurement in a single light-sheet is performed. To elucidate the spatial structure of the flow patterns in the reattachment region in time and space, a stereo scanning PIV set-up is applied. The flow field is recorded in at least ten successive light-sheet planes with two high-speed cameras enclosing a viewing angle of 65° to detect all three velocity components within a light-sheet leading to a time-resolved volumetric measurement due to a high scanning speed. The measurements evidence the development of quasi-periodic vortex structures. The temporal dynamics of the vortex roll-up, initialized by the Kelvin–Helmholtz (KH) instability, is shown as well as the spatial development of the vortex roll-up process. Based on these measurements a model for the evolving vortex structure consisting of the formation of c-shape vortices and their transformation into screwdriver vortices is introduced.

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Mechanical Engineering, Institute of AerodynamicsRWTH Aachen UniversityAachenGermany

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