Three-dimensionality and instabilities of leading-edge vortices

Project: Research council

Project Details


Aircraft is often subject to turbulence and gusts, which increase the aerodynamic forces and become a concern for the controllability of wings. Flow separation and formation of a "vortex" over the wing also occurs for unmanned air vehicles (UAVs) with flapping wings, wind turbines and rotating blades. The main aim of this project is to achieve a complete understanding of the initiation and growth of the three-dimensionality of the separated flow. The second aim is to develop flow/vortex control methods by means of excitation or delay of the initiation of instabilities. The proposed project will address these aspects through a combined experimental (University of Bath) and computational (Imperial College London) approach using state of the art facilities and methods. These include water tunnel experiments by using force, deformation and flow measurements as well as numerical simulations. Expected outcomes include better understanding of the flow separation and vortices shed from the wings in unsteady flows and developing novel flow control methods which could be used for alleviation of extreme loads on wings. This could have main impact on the design of lighter aircraft, UAVs and wind turbines as well as help with improved safety.
Effective start/end date2/09/191/09/22

Collaborative partners


  • Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council

RCUK Research Areas

  • Mechanical engineering
  • Aerodynamics


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