Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy


Mechanical Engineering

First Adviser

Donald Rockwell


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. This interaction can give rise to time-averaged loading, as well as unsteady loading known as buffeting. The loading is 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, vorticity, swirl ratio, and streamlines on successive cross-flow planes upstream of and along the wing, which lead to volume representations and thereby characterization of the interaction. At locations upstream of the leading edge of the wing, the evolution of the incident vortex is affected by the presence of the 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. Moreover, 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, 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. Along the chord of the wing, the vortex interaction gives rise to distinct modes, which may involve either enhancement or suppression of the vortex generated at the tip of the wing. These modes are classified and interpreted in conjunction with computed modes at the Air Force Research Laboratory. Occurrence of a given mode of interaction is predominantly determined by the dimensionless location of the incident vortex relative to the tip of the wing and is generally insensitive to the Reynolds number and dimensionless circulation of the incident vortex. The genesis of the basic modes of interaction is clarified using streamline topology with associated critical points. Whereas formation of an enhanced tip vortex involves a region of large upwash in conjunction with localized flow separation, complete suppression of the tip vortex is associated with a small-scale separation–attachment bubble bounded by downwash at the wing tip. Oscillation of the wing at an amplitude and velocity nearly two orders of magnitude smaller than the wing chord and free stream velocity respectively can give rise to distinctive patterns of upwash, downwash, and shed vorticity, which are dependent on the outboard displacement of the incident vortex relative to the wing tip. Moreover, these patterns are a strong function of the phase of the wing motion during its oscillation cycle. At a given value of phase, the wing oscillation induces upwash that is reinforced by the upwash of the incident vortex, giving a maximum value of net upwash. Conversely, when these two origins of upwash counteract, rather than reinforce, one another during the oscillation cycle, the net upwash has its minimum value. Analogous interpretations hold for regions of maximum and minimum net downwash located outboard of the regions of upwash. During the oscillation cycle of the wing, the magnitude and scale of the vorticity shed from the tip of the wing are directly correlated with the net upwash, which takes different forms related to the outboard displacement of the incident vortex. As the location of the incident vortex is displaced towards the wing tip, both the maximum upwash and the maximum vorticity of the tip vortex initially increase, then decrease. For the limiting case where the incident vortex impinges directly upon the tip of the wing, there is no tip vortex or induced region of upwash. Furthermore, at small values of vortex displacement from the wing tip, the position of the incident vortex varies significantly from its nominal position during the oscillation cycle. For all locations of the incident vortex, it is shown that, despite the small amplitude of the wing motion, the flow topology is fundamentally different at maximum positive and negative values of the wing velocity, that is, they are not symmetric.