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Measurement and modelling of the turbulent boundary layer near the attachment line of a swept wing

Gowree, E. R. & Atkin, C. J. (2017). Measurement and modelling of the turbulent boundary layer near the attachment line of a swept wing. Aeronautical Journal, 121(1240), pp. 746-769. doi: 10.1017/aer.2017.30


This work is motivated by the need for low-order aerodynamic models to predict accurately the effect on profile drag of controlling attachment line transition. Head's entrainment method (1) , a rapid integral boundary layer technique used for design studies on swept wings, suffers from the governing swept-tapered turbulent integral boundary layer equations being ill-posed in the vicinity of the attachment line. This singularity has been treated using crude extrapolations of the attachment-line similarity solution for over half a century, but this approach is unlikely to deliver accurate predictions of the effect of changes in the attachment line flow on profile drag. An experimental study has been carried out to explore the nature of the turbulent flow in the vicinity of a highly swept swept attachment line and has revealed a quite complex, non-monotonic development of the momentum thickness in this region. It has also revealed lower levels of twist in the boundary layer velocity profiles than anticipated from the highly curved character of the inviscid flow streamlines. These observations have prompted an alternative approach to the modelling of the flow in this region which not only successfully eliminates the lack of robustness in the swept-tapered equations but which also matches the experimental results to within ±5%.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This article has been published in a revised form in The Aeronautical Journal This version is free to view and download for private research and study only. Not for re-distribution, re-sale or use in derivative works. © Royal Aeronautical Society 2017.
Subjects: T Technology > TL Motor vehicles. Aeronautics. Astronautics
Departments: School of Science & Technology > Engineering
SWORD Depositor:
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