Water Tunnel Experiments on Span-wise Variation of Laminar Separation Bubbles for Swept and Unswept Wings using Particle Image Velocimetry
AuthorGluck, Jeffrey Weston
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractAn inverted airfoil mounted above a flat plate was used to create laminar separation bubbles on a flat plate in water tunnel experiments at low Reynolds numbers. Boundary layer suction ensured that the flow remained attached to the wing. Two-dimensional PIV measurements were used to qualitatively and quantitatively characterize the spanwise bubble variation on an unswept wing and on the same wing featuring a 22 degree sweep. The separation bubbles were recorded at varied span-wise locations in a 31.5 cm wide region of the flow. The limitations of this measurement region were dictated by the focal length of the laser optic used for PIV measurements. The straight wing exhibited approximately uniform time averaged separation positions across the span of the wing. The reattachment locations varied only slightly which was expected due to the transition to turbulent flow before reattachment. A form of bubble "breathing" was observed in the laminar separation bubbles on the straight wing and is believed to have affected the mean reattachment locations for two data points recorded. The shedding frequencies on the straight wing were slightly higher than those obtained from CFD simulations. The swept wing planform showed significantly more variation in the mean separation and reattachment locations with respect to the leading edge of the wing. There is a general trend of the separation locations moving upstream in the direction of the aft leading edge. The reattachment points are shown to move downstream as the separation points move upstream relative to the leading edge and visa versa, displaying an inverse relationship between the two. The bubble lengths were found to be slightly longer on the swept wing compared to the straight wing usually by about 10%. The shedding frequencies on the swept wing were found to be lower than the straight wing. The quality of flow in the water tunnel may have degraded over time, showing signs of increased free stream turbulence. After data collection, it was also discovered that the boundary layer suction on the wing was not constant at all span-wise locations. It is believed that the introduction of wing sweep intensified the effect of insufficient suction on the structure of the bubbles observed. The present results were in agreement with previous research for bubble structure but the dynamic instabilities were found to differ slightly.
Degree ProgramGraduate College