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Spiral vortex flow over a swept-back wing

  • D. I. A. Poll (a1)

Summary

An experimental investigation has been performed to study the formation and development of spiral vortex flow over a swept-back wing. An aerofoil section with three alternative leading edge shapes was tested at sweep angles ranging from 0° to 56° for unit Reynolds numbers of 1 × 106/m and 2 × 106/m. The principal diagnostic tool was the surface oil-flow visualisation technique supplemented by pressure distribution measurements in certain cases. No spiral vortex flow was observed for sweep angles of 0° and 15° but at higher sweep angles the oil-flows indicated that there were three different mechanisms for the formation of spiral vortices. The angle of incidence at the onset of vortex flow, and the mechanism responsible for its formation, were found to depend upon the sweep angle, the leading edge shape and the Reynolds number. It was also noted that the larger the leading edge radius the greater the dependence upon Reynolds number. However, comparison with other work suggests that Reynolds number, incidence and sweep angle alone are insufficient to determine the type of spiral vortex flow occurring on a given wing.

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1. Küchemann, D. Types of flow on swept wings — with special reference to free boundaries and vortex sheets. RAE TN Aero 2234, March 1953.
2. Maskell, E. C. Flow separation in three dimensions. RAE Report Aero 2565, November 1955.
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4. Goldstein, S. and Richards, E. J. Approximate two- dimensional aerofoil theory, Part III. Approximate designs of symmetrical aerofoils for specified pressure distributions. ARC CP 70, 1952.
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7. Dickmann, C. C. Flow over swept wings MSc Thesis. Department of Aerodynamics, College of Aeronautics, September 1976.

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Spiral vortex flow over a swept-back wing

  • D. I. A. Poll (a1)

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