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Separation-Bubble-Transition Measurements on a Low-Re Airfoil Using Particle Image Velocimetry

[+] Author Affiliations
B. R. McAuliffe, M. I. Yaras

Carleton University, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Paper No. GT2005-68663, pp. 1029-1038; 10 pages
  • ASME Turbo Expo 2005: Power for Land, Sea, and Air
  • Volume 3: Turbo Expo 2005, Parts A and B
  • Reno, Nevada, USA, June 6–9, 2005
  • Conference Sponsors: International Gas Turbine Institute
  • ISBN: 0-7918-4726-8 | eISBN: 0-7918-3754-8
  • Copyright © 2005 by ASME


This paper presents experimental results on separation-bubble transition at low Reynolds number and low freestream turbulence, measured on an airfoil using particle image velocimetry (PIV). The two-dimensional PIV measurements have been performed over the suction surface of a low-Reynolds-number airfoil in a water tow-tank facility. Reynolds numbers, based on airfoil chord length and towing speed, of 40,000 and 65,000 have been examined at various angles of incidence, providing a range of streamwise pressure distributions and transitional separation-bubble geometries. The types of bubbles observed range from a short and thick bubble with separation near the leading edge of the airfoil, to a long and thin bubble with separation far downstream of the suction peak. The PIV measurements facilitate visualization of the vortex dynamics associated with separation-bubble transition. The growth of instability waves within the separated shear layer and eventual breakdown into turbulence is documented through the instantaneous vector fields. For all cases examined, large-scale vortex shedding and multiple reverse-flow zones are observed in the reattachment region. A technique for estimating the location of transition onset based on statistical turbulence quantities is presented, and comparisons are made to existing transition models.

Copyright © 2005 by ASME



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