Low-Reynolds-number separation on an airfoil

J. C.Muti Lin, Laura L. Pauley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

222 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1570-1577
Number of pages8
JournalAIAA journal
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1996

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Aerospace Engineering


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