Structure of a streamwise-oriented vortex incident upon a wing

C. McKenna, M. Bross, D. Rockwell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Impingement of a streamwise-oriented vortex upon a fin, tail, blade or wing represents a fundamental class of flow-structure interaction that extends across a range of applications. It can give rise to unsteady loading known as buffeting and to changes of the lift to drag ratio. These consequences are sensitive to parameters of the incident vortex as well as the location of vortex impingement on the downstream aerodynamic surface, generically designated as a wing. Particle image velocimetry is employed to determine patterns of velocity and vorticity on successive cross-flow planes along the vortex, which lead to volume representations and thereby characterization of the streamwise evolution of the vortex structure as it approaches the downstream wing. This evolution of the incident vortex is affected by the upstream influence of the downstream wing, and is highly dependent on the spanwise location of vortex impingement. Even at spanwise locations of impingement well outboard of the wing tip, a substantial influence on the structure of the incident vortex at locations significantly upstream of the leading edge of the wing was observed. For spanwise locations close to or intersecting the vortex core, the effects of upstream influence of the wing on the vortex are to: decrease the swirl ratio; increase the streamwise velocity deficit; decrease the streamwise vorticity; increase the azimuthal vorticity; increase the upwash; decrease the downwash; and increase the root-mean-square fluctuations of both streamwise velocity and vorticity. The interrelationship between these effects is addressed, including the rapid attenuation of axial vorticity in presence of an enhanced defect of axial velocity in the central region of the vortex. When the incident vortex is aligned with, or inboard of, the tip of the wing, the swirl ratio decreases to values associated with instability of the vortex, thereby giving rise to enhanced values of azimuthal vorticity relative to the streamwise (axial) vorticity, as well as relatively large root-mean-square values of streamwise velocity and vorticity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)306-330
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Fluid Mechanics
StatePublished - Apr 10 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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