Title

Influence of Laminar Separation Bubbles on the Aerodynamic Characteristics of Elliptical Airfoils at Low Reynolds Numbers

Presenter Information

Justin Aholt

Department

Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Major

Aerospace Engineering

Research Advisor

Finaish, Fathi

Advisor's Department

Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Funding Source

NASA-Missouri Space Grant Consortium

Abstract

This work was a computational study of the effects of laminar separation bubbles on a 16 percent thick elliptical airfoil at a 10 degree angle of attack and Reynolds numbers ranging from 60,000 to 2 million. In this study, computational fluid dynamics (CFD) was employed to characterize the effects of decreasing Reynolds numbers on bubble size, the airfoil’s pressure coefficient plot, and the airfoil’s lift, drag, and aerodynamic efficiency. The separation bubble was found to appear at Reynolds numbers less than or equal to 600,000. This bubble is capable of generating a marginal boost in lift at Reynolds numbers around 200,000, but at a large drag penalty. At Reynolds numbers below 200,000, the bubble has an adverse effect on the natural pressure peak of the airfoil, negating the bubble’s positive effects. While the separation bubble produces a noticeable increase in lift, it does not improve aerodynamic efficiency.

Biography

Justin Aholt was born in Washington Missouri and is a graduate of St. Francis Borgia Regional High School. He is currently a junior majoring in Aerospace Engineering. Upon completion of his Bachelor’s Degree, he intends to pursue an advanced degree in the field of Aerodynamics.

Research Category

Engineering

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

Document Type

Presentation

Award

Engineering oral presentation, Third place

Location

Ozark Room

Presentation Date

08 Apr 2009, 9:00 am - 9:30 am

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Apr 8th, 9:00 AM Apr 8th, 9:30 AM

Influence of Laminar Separation Bubbles on the Aerodynamic Characteristics of Elliptical Airfoils at Low Reynolds Numbers

Ozark Room

This work was a computational study of the effects of laminar separation bubbles on a 16 percent thick elliptical airfoil at a 10 degree angle of attack and Reynolds numbers ranging from 60,000 to 2 million. In this study, computational fluid dynamics (CFD) was employed to characterize the effects of decreasing Reynolds numbers on bubble size, the airfoil’s pressure coefficient plot, and the airfoil’s lift, drag, and aerodynamic efficiency. The separation bubble was found to appear at Reynolds numbers less than or equal to 600,000. This bubble is capable of generating a marginal boost in lift at Reynolds numbers around 200,000, but at a large drag penalty. At Reynolds numbers below 200,000, the bubble has an adverse effect on the natural pressure peak of the airfoil, negating the bubble’s positive effects. While the separation bubble produces a noticeable increase in lift, it does not improve aerodynamic efficiency.