Vortex generators and turbulent boundary layer separation control

Respondent Huvudhandledare Bihandledare Datum
Ola Lögdberg Henrik Alfredsson Jens Fransson 2006-11-03

Per-Åge Krogstad, NTNU, Trondheim



Boundary layer separation is usually an unwanted phenomenon in most technical applications as for instance on airplane wings, on ground vehicles and in internal flows such as diffusers. If separation occurs it leads to loss of lift, higher drag and results in energy losses. It is therefore important to be able to find methods to control and if possible avoid separation altogether without introducing a too heavy penalty such as increased drag, energy consuming suction etc. In the present work we study one such control method, namely the use of vortex generators (VGs), which are known to be able to hinder turbulent boundary layer separation. We first study the downstream development of streamwise vortices behind pairs and arrays of vortex generators and how the strength of the vortices is coupled to the relative size of the vortex generators in comparison to the boundary layer size. Both the amplitude and the trajectory of the vortices are tracked in the downstream direction. Also the influences of yaw and free stream turbulence on the vortices are investigated. This part of the study is made with hot-wire anemometry where all three velocity components of the vortex structure are measured. The generation of circulation by the VGs scales excellently with the VG blade height and the velocity at the blade edge. The magnitude of circulation was found to be independent of yaw angle. The second part of the study deals with the control effect of vortex generators on three different cases where the strength of the adverse pressure gradient (APG) in a turbulent boundary layer has been varied. In this case the measurements have been made with particle image velocimetry. It was found that the streamwise position where the VGs are placed is not critical for the control effect. For the three different APG cases approximately the same level of circulation was needed to inhibit separation. In contrast to some previous studies we find no evidence of a universal detachment shape factor, that is independent of pressure gradient.
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