Multiple vortex structures in the wake of a rectangular winglet in ground effect

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Patterns of vorticity in the wake of a single rectangular winglet (vortex generator) embedded in a turbulent boundary layer have been studied using Stereoscopic Particle Image Velocimetry (SPIV). The winglet was mounted normally to a flat surface with an angle to the oncoming flow. A parametric study varying the winglet height (constant aspect ratio) and angle has shown, contrary to the common classical single tip-vortex conception, that the wake generally consists of a complex system of multiple vortex structures. The primary vortex has previously been discovered to contain a direct coupling between the axial and the rotational flow. In the current work, even the longitudinal secondary structures detected from measured streamwise vorticity display similar behavior. A regime map depicting the observed stable far wake states of the multiple vortices as a function of winglet height and angle reveals complex patterns of the flow topologies not only with the primary tip vortex, but with the additional secondary structures as well. A bifurcation diagram shows distinct regimes of the various secondary structures as well as how the primary vortex is in some cases significantly affected by their presence. These data should serve as inspiration in the process of generating longitudinal vortices for enhancement of heat and mass transfer in industrial devices since the multiple vortex regimes can help improve the conditions for these exchanges. Further, these results point to a weakness in existing inviscid models not accounting for the possibility of multiple vortical structures in the wake. © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
JournalExperimental Thermal and Fluid Science
Pages (from-to)31–39
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Vortex generator
  • Turbulent boundary layer flow control
  • Flow topology behind vortex generator
  • Secondary vortex structures
  • Vortex generator modeling
  • PIV reflection reduction


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