Experimental Investigation of Static Stall Hysteresis and 3-Dimensional Flow Structures for an NREL S826 Wing Section of Finite Span

Hamid Sarlak*, Ariane Frère, Robert Flemming Mikkelsen, Jens Nørkær Sørensen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Flow characteristics of an S826 airfoil at different Reynolds numbers, ranging from 40,000–400,000 (based on airfoil chord length) and angles of attack from −10–25 degrees are thoroughly investigated in a low-speed wind tunnel. The airfoil’s lift and drag polars are first measured, and with a focus on pitching the airfoil in upstroke and downstroke orders, static stall hysteresis is identified in selected experiments at Reynolds numbers below 100,000 near the stall angle and subsequently investigated. Experiments using wire-generated free stream turbulence are conducted, and the hysteresis effects are shown to disappear when introducing a free stream turbulence of less than 2.5%. Further, spanwise flow is detected by comparing lift and drag values measured using both surface pressure integration at one cross section as well as integral force gauge measurement, and the surface oil flow visualization technique is subsequently used to study the 3D flow topologies formed on the airfoil. The formation of distinct stall cells on the suction side of the airfoil is observed at Reynolds numbers above 100,000 near the stall angle. By repeating the experiments, stall cells are proven to be reproduceable, although the identical geometries are necessarily not retained in abscence of surface impurities such as tapes. The effect of disturbances on the stall cells is investigated by utilizing roughness elements on the airfoil surface, and it is found that while such disturbances tend to change the shape of the stall cells, they do not contribute to the creation, nor destruction of the cells. Polar and visualisation measurements are also used to study flow separation, and it is observed that the separation location, as well as the laminar separation bubble, moves towards the leading edge when increasing the angle of attack.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1418
Issue number6
Number of pages21
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Aerodynamics
  • Flow measurement
  • Surface oil flow visualization
  • Stall Cells
  • Hysteresis
  • T

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