Research

Trails from a Delta Wing

Side-view of green and red dye streaming off a delta wing
Top-down view of green and red dyes streaming off a delta wing

Rhodamine (red) and fluorescein (green) dyes highlight the complex flows around a delta wing. To visualize the flow, researchers painted the apex of the delta wing with rhodamine, which gets drawn into the core of the wing’s leading edge vortex. The green fluorescein dye was added to the wing’s trailing edge, where it gets pulled into the secondary structure of the vortices. A laser illuminates the flow, making even the most delicate wisps of dye shine. As the wake behind the wing develops, the dyes reveal growing instabilities along the vortices. Given time and space, these instabilities will grow large enough to destroy any order in the wake, leaving behind turbulence. (Image and research credit: S. Morris and C. Williamson; see also poster)

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