Unsteady boundary-layer separation from an Eppler 387 airfoil at low Reynolds number is studied numerically. Through a series of computations, the effects of Reynolds number and angle of attack are investigated. For all cases, vortex shedding is observed from the separated shear layer. From linear stability analysis, a Kelvin-Helmholtz instability is identified as causing shear layer unsteadiness. The low-turbulence wind-tunnel tests of the Eppler 387 airfoil are used to compare with the time-averaged results of the present unsteady computations. The favorable comparison between computational and experimental results strongly suggests that the unsteady large-scale structure controls the low-Reynolds-number separation bubble reattachment with small-scale turbulence playing a secondary role.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Aerospace Engineering