The stability and transition Reynolds numbers for the flow due to a disk rotating in still air were increased by low rates of suction through either a woven wire-cloth or a slitted surface. Observations on the slitted disk at rotational speeds between 550 and 1250 r.p.m. showed that the critical value of the Reynolds number r2ω/ν for instability increased from about 135,000 without suction to nearly 250,000 for a value of the suction parameter a of 0·4. The corresponding values for transition increased from about 275,000 to about 400,000. A given increase in stability Reynolds number required about 75% more suction than that theoretically predicted for uniform distributed suction, a satisfactory result in view of the limitations of the apparatus.
At higher rates of suction (0·4 < a < 1·6), the reduction in secondary flow allowed transverse turbulent contamination to spread inwards from the rim. Consequently the vortices associated with secondary-flow instability were not found, though disturbances of larger wavelength appeared. Intermittent turbulent flow was spread over a much larger region of the disk and no laminar flow could be obtained above a Reynolds number of 400,000, Owing to this feature of the flow, it was not possible to extend laminar flow to values of the unit Reynolds number (ratio of stream velocity to kinematic viscosity) corresponding to flight conditions on a swept-back wing. It is concluded that the rotating disk is not a satisfactory tool for the investigation of the effects of suction on secondary-flow instabilities such as arise in the case of a swept-back wing, or for the testing of suction surfaces.