Vortex shedding within laminar separation bubbles forming over an airfoil

Research Article


Vortex shedding within laminar separation bubbles forming over the suction side of a NACA 0018 airfoil is studied through a combination of high-speed flow visualization and boundary layer measurements. Wind tunnel experiments are performed at a chord-based Reynolds number of 100,000 and four angles of attack. The high-speed flow visualization is complemented by quantitative velocity and surface pressure measurements. The structures are shown to originate from the natural amplification of small-amplitude disturbances, and the shear layer roll-up is found to occur coherently across the span. However, significant cycle-to-cycle variations are observed in vortex characteristics, including shedding period and roll-up location. The formation of the roll-up vortices precedes the later stages of transition, during which these structures undergo significant deformations and breakdown to smaller scales. During this stage of flow development, vortex merging is also observed. The results provide new insight into the development of coherent structures in separation bubbles and their relation to the overall bubble dynamics and mean bubble topology.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of WaterlooWaterlooCanada

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