, Volume 5, Issue 2, pp 109-125
Date: 27 Nov 2013

Enhancement of aircraft wake vortex decay in ground proximity

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Abstract

Aircraft wake vortex evolution in ground proximity is investigated experimentally in a water towing tank, as well as numerically with wall-resolved large eddy simulation (LES). With these complementary instruments the enhancement of wake vortex decay by obstacles, introduced at the ground surface, is analyzed. The experimental methods include time-resolved stereo particle image velocimetry and vortex core visualization. For comparison with the experiment, the LES considers the turbulent wake of the strut, holding the towed aircraft model. Wake vortex trajectories and circulation decay are compared at different distances from the obstacle. Tracers are employed to visualize the obstacle’s effects on the vortex core, in LES and experiment. The experimentally obtained trajectories and decay characteristics are reproduced qualitatively by simulations, whereas the agreement is degraded at later times. Beyond that, the vortex dynamics, deduced from the LES results, help to understand the experimental observations. The obstacles trigger helical secondary vortex structures, propagating along the primary vortices. The observed propagation speed of the helical disturbance is fairly well predicted by the suggested simple model. It is shown that the obstacles significantly modify the vortex interaction with the ground and substantially accelerate vortex decay. Two neighboring obstacles lead to colliding disturbances that further enhance vortex decay rates.