Flow Around a Complex Airfoil

Flow around an airfoil with a leading-edge slat is visualized above. At this Reynolds number, alternating periodic vortices are shed in its wake. Understanding how multi-element airfoils and control surfaces affect local flow is important in controlling aircraft aerodynamics. When multiple instabilities interact–like those in the wing’s boundary layer interacting with the wake’s–it can generate disturbances that are problematic in flight. Being able to predict and avoid such behavior is important for safe aircraft. (Photo credit: S. Makiya et al.)

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