Three dimensionality and Instabilities of Leading-Edge Vortices

Lead Research Organisation: Imperial College London
Department Name: Dept of Aeronautics


Aircraft is often subject to turbulence and gusts, which increase the aerodynamic forces and become a concern for the controllability of wings. Flow separation and formation of a "vortex" over the wing also occurs for unmanned air vehicles (UAVs) with flapping wings, wind turbines and rotating blades. The main aim of this project is to achieve a complete understanding of the initiation and growth of the three-dimensionality of the separated flow. The second aim is to develop flow/vortex control methods by means of excitation or delay of the initiation of instabilities. The proposed project will address these aspects through a combined experimental (University of Bath) and computational (Imperial College London) approach using state of the art facilities and methods. These include water tunnel experiments by using force, deformation and flow measurements as well as numerical simulations. Expected outcomes include better understanding of the flow separation and vortices shed from the wings in unsteady flows and developing novel flow control methods which could be used for alleviation of extreme loads on wings. This could have main impact on the design of lighter aircraft, UAVs and wind turbines as well as help with improved safety.


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Description McLaren Racing 
Organisation McLaren Racing
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution We have transferred fundamental ideas behind vortex stability and identification to their design practice. More recently we are been applying computational modelling tools developed in an academic setting to example flow problems of direct interest to McLaren.
Collaborator Contribution Data and motivation on how to focus our research direction
Impact .
Start Year 2007
Title Nektar++ v5.0.1 
Description A tensor product based finite element package designed to allow one to construct efficient classical low polynomial order h-type solvers (where h is the size of the finite element) as well as higher p-order piecewise polynomial order solvers. 
Type Of Technology Software 
Year Produced 2021 
Open Source License? Yes  
Impact The latest version of Nektar++, v5.0.1, was released on the 21st January 2021. It can be downloaded from the downloads page.