Suppressing tip vortex cavitation by winglets

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Despite the numerous remedies prescribed so far, tip vortex cavitation (TVC) remains a major issue in design and operation of diverse applications. In this paper, we experimentally investigate the effectiveness of winglets in suppressing TVC. An elliptical hydrofoil is selected as the baseline geometry and various winglets are realized by bending the last 5 or 10% of the span at ± 45° and ± 90° dihedral angles. To better focus on the physics of the problem, we have intentionally avoided any optimization on the geometries and our winglets are only smooth non-planar extensions of the original cross-section. Modifying no more than 3.7% of the lifting surface, lift-and-drag force measurements demonstrate that the hydrodynamic performances of the winglet-equipped hydrofoils are not substantially different from the baseline. Nevertheless, cavitation inception–desinence tests reveal that undeniable advantages are achieved by the winglets in TVC alleviation. It is found that the 10%-bent 90° winglets are more effective than the 45° cases, with − 90° (bent down toward the pressure side) performing superior to + 90°. For instance, the 90°-bent-downward winglet reduces the TVC inception index from 2.5 for the baseline down to 0.8 (a reduction of 68%) at 15 m/s freestream velocity and 14° incidence angle. In addition, the study on the bending length effect conducted for the 90° configurations shows that the 5%-bent winglets are not as striking as the 10% ones. Employing Stereo-PIV technique, the influence of winglets on non-cavitating flow structures is examined. For the most effective winglet (10%-bent 90°-downward), we observe that the maximum tangential velocity of the tip vortex falls to almost half of the baseline and the vortex core size increases significantly (by almost 70%). These effects are accompanied by a tangible reduction in the axial velocity at the vortex core leading to further mitigation of TVC.

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The present research received funding from the MSCA-ITN-ETN of the European Union’s H2020 program under REA Grant agreement N° 642536, and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (Japan).

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Correspondence to Ali Amini.

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Amini, A., Reclari, M., Sano, T. et al. Suppressing tip vortex cavitation by winglets. Exp Fluids 60, 159 (2019) doi:10.1007/s00348-019-2809-z

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