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Gap Size Effect on Low Reynolds Number Wind Tunnel Experiments
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A system was designed to measure the effect of gap size on semi-span low Reynolds number wind tunnel experiments. The lift forces on NACA 1412, NACA 2412 and NACA 4412 half wings were measured using a strain gauge balance at chord Reynolds numbers of 100,000 and 200,000 and three different gap sizes including sealed gap. Pressure distributions on both airfoil top and bottom surfaces in the chord-wise direction near the gap were recorded for these airfoils. Also recorded was the span wise pressure distribution on both the airfoil surfaces at the quarter chord section. The results revealed that the presence of the gap, however small, affects the measurements. These effects were mainly observed in drop of lift and change in zero lift angle of attack and change in stall angle for the airfoil. The size of the gap is not linearly related to these changes, which also depend on the camber of the airfoil. These changes occur due to the flow through the gap from the lower surface to the upper surface of the model. The wing/end plate gap effect reduces along the span but is not fully restricted to the base of the model and the model behaves more like a full three-dimensional wing than a semi-span model. This study was made possible with the support of Department of Aerospace and Ocean Engineering, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University under the supervision of Dr. James Marchman
- Masters Theses