The impact of chord-based Reynolds number on the formation of leading-edge vortices (LEVs) on unsteady pitching flat plates is investigated. The influence of secondary flow structures on the shear layer feeding the LEV and the subsequent topological change at the leading edge as the result of viscous processes are demonstrated. Time-resolved velocity fields are measured using particle image velocimetry simultaneously in two fields of view to correlate local and global flow phenomena in order to identify unsteady boundary-layer separation and the subsequent flow structures. Finally, the Reynolds number is identified as a parameter that is responsible for the transition in mechanisms leading to LEV detachment from an aerofoil, as it determines the viscous response of the boundary layer in the vortex–wall interaction.
One contribution of 19 to a theme issue ‘Coevolving advances in animal flight and aerial robotics’.
- © 2016 The Author(s)
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