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The interaction between the free shear layer, the wingtip vortex and the aerodynamic efficiency was quantified based on previous experimental Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV) results of the wingtip vortex and the free shear layer. These preliminary results showed signs of interaction between the free shear layer and the wingtip vortex. This analysis was extended to more completely understand the interaction of the free shear layer in the wingtip vortex evolution process and the correlation of this interaction to the aerodynamic efficiency of the wing. The streamwise, cross-stream and spanwise plane oriented PIV of the wingtip vortex showed clear signs of free shear layer interaction with the wingtip vortex at lower angles of attack. This interaction was reflected in the normalized azimuthal velocity profile of the wingtip vortex as well. The composite of velocity profiles from multiple different planes showed a transfer of momentum from the free shear layer to the wingtip vortex in the vicinity of the maximum (L/D) lift condition. This result was correlated with the variation of the parasite and the induced drag of the wing.

Publication Date


Project Designation

Graduate Research

Primary Advisor

Aaron Altman

Primary Advisor's Department

Mechanical & Aerospace Engrng


Stander Symposium poster

The Relationship Between the Wingtip Vortex, the Free Shear Layer and Aerodynamic Efficiency