Separation and Stall

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This flow visualization of a pitching wind turbine blade demonstrates why lift and drag can change so drastically with angle of attack. When the angle the blade makes with the freestream is small, flow stays attached around the top and bottom surfaces of the blade. At large (positive or negative) angles of attack, the flow separates from the turbine blade, beginning at the trailing edge and moving forward as the angle of attack increases. The separated flow appears as a region of recirculation and turbulence. This is the same mechanism responsible for stall in aircraft. (Submitted by Bobby E)

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