Evolution of the leading-edge vortex over an accelerating rotating wing

Yossef Elimelech, Dmitry Kolomenskiy, Stuart B. Dalziel, H. K. Moffatt

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


The flow field over an accelerating rotating wing model at Reynolds numbers Re ranging from 250 to 2000 is investigated using particle image velocimetry, and compared with the flow obtained by three-dimensional time-dependent Navier-Stokes simulations. It is shown that the coherent leading-edge vortex that characterises the flow field at Re∼200-300 transforms to a laminar separation bubble as Re is increased. It is further shown that the ratio of the instantaneous circulation of the leading-edge vortex in the acceleration phase to that over a wing rotating steadily at the same Re decreases monotonically with increasing Re. We conclude that the traditional approach based on steady wing rotation is inadequate for the prediction of the aerodynamic performance of flapping wings at Re above about 1000.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)233-242
Number of pages10
JournalProcedia IUTAM
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes
EventIUTAM Symposium on Topological Fluid Mechanics II - Cambridge, United Kingdom
Duration: 23 Jul 201227 Jul 2012


  • Flapping flight
  • Leading-edge vortex evolution
  • Navier-Stokes simulations
  • Particle image velocimetry
  • Unsteady aerodynamics


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