Aerodynamics of a highly cambered circular arc aerofoil : experimental investigations
TypeCommunications avec actes
While the aerodynamics of upwind sails are relatively well understood, flows past downwind sails are still very challenging. Indeed, downwind sails which can be considered as highly cambered thin wing profiles, are well known for their massive separations and complex wake flows. Therefore the aim of this study was to examine a very simple highly curved thin wing profile in order to elucidate features of real flow behaviours past such sails. Therefore, a two-dimensional thin circular arc has been investigated. The studied model had a camber of 21 - 22% comparable to downwind sails. The wind tunnel pressure measurements have enabled us to understand why the sudden transition in the lift force exists at low incidences but not at higher incidences. At low incidences the flow stagnates on the top face and a laminar boundary layer develops first. If the Reynolds number is too low, the laminar boundary layer is not able to transition to turbulent. This laminar boundary layer separates very early leading to low lift and high drag. However, when the Reynolds number is high enough, the boundary layer transitions to turbulent creating a laminar separation bubble. This more robust boundary layer can withstand the adverse pressure gradient and stay attached much longer, creating a sudden significant increase in lift and a drop in drag. At high incidences, a leading edge bubble forces the flow to transition to turbulent. Therefore, the boundary layer is fully turbulent irrespective of the Reynolds number and a unique flow regime exists at these high incidences.
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