The leading-edge vortex on a rotating wing changes markedly beyond a certain central body size

Shantanu S. Bhat, Jisheng Zhao, John Sheridan, Kerry Hourigan, Mark C. Thompson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Stable attachment of a leading-edge vortex (LEV) plays a key role in generating the high lift on rotating wings with a central body. The central body size can affect the LEV structure broadly in two ways. First, an overall change in the size changes the Reynolds number, which is known to have an influence on the LEV structure. Second, it may affect the Coriolis acceleration acting across the wing, depending on the wing-offset from the axis of rotation. To investigate this, the effects of Reynolds number and the wing-offset are independently studied for a rotating wing. The three-dimensional LEV structure is mapped using a scanning particle image velocimetry technique. The rapid acquisition of images and their correlation are carefully validated. The results presented in this paper show that the LEV structure changes mainly with the Reynolds number. The LEV-split is found to be only minimally affected by changing the central body radius in the range of small offsets, which interestingly includes the range for most insects. However, beyond this small offset range, the LEV-split is found to change dramatically.

Original languageEnglish
Article number172197
Number of pages16
JournalRoyal Society Open Science
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jul 2018


  • Dual-LEVs
  • Insect body size
  • Rotating wing
  • Scanning PIV
  • Wing-body interaction

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