Leading-Edge Vortex Dynamics on Plunging Airfoils and Wings

Onur Son, An-Kang Gao, Ismet Gursul, Chris D. Cantwell, Zhijin Wang, Spencer J. Sherwin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (SciVal)
132 Downloads (Pure)


The vortex dynamics of leading-edge vortices on plunging high-Aspect-ratio (ARÂ =Â 10) wings and airfoils were investigated by means of volumetric velocity measurements, numerical simulations and stability analysis to understand the deformation of the leading-edge vortex filament and spanwise instabilities. The vortex filaments on both the wing and airfoil exhibit spanwise waves, but with different origins. The presence of a wing-Tip causes the leg of the vortex to remain attached to the wing upper surface, while the initial deformation of the filament near the wing tip resembles a helical vortex. The essential features can be modelled as the deformation of an initially L-shaped semi-infinite vortex column. In contrast, the instability of the vortices is well captured by the instability of counter-rotating vortex pairs, which are formed either by the trailing-edge vortices or the secondary vortices rolled-up from the wing surface. The wavelengths observed in the experiments and simulations are in agreement with the stability analysis of counter-rotating vortex pairs of unequal strength.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberA28
JournalJournal of Fluid Mechanics
Early online date11 Apr 2022
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jun 2022


  • vortex dynamics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Leading-Edge Vortex Dynamics on Plunging Airfoils and Wings'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this