Vortex Generators So we now understand about boundary layers,…

Vortex Generators

So we now understand about boundary layers, flow separation, stalls, what causes them, how to detect and get out of one  (previous post).

One way to delay stalls is by inserting is a small angled plate  on the wing known as Vortex Generators. They impart a rotational/swirling motion to the flow of air on the surface of a wing.

Why do Vortex generators work?

Basically, creating a vortex over a surface allows you to delay boundary
layer* separation.

The swirling/rotational motion of air prevents the separation of air from the wing earlier on. This increases the lift and/or also reduces drag.


Benefits of vortex generators

As you saw in the gif above the stallspeed when using VGs drastically
reduces. This means that you can fly (and land safely) at low speeds without stalling.  

And it has also been shown that VGs reduce the noise generated by air inside the aircraft.

Some more benefits have been listed below (source) for the sake of completion:

● An added safety margin for low-speed flight   

● Improved low-speed handling characteristics

● Improved cross wind handling at low speeds 

● Increased safety margin in the event of an engine failure

● Reduced take-off distance, improving short field performance

Now this idea of forcibly generating vortices to increase lift and/or reduce drag finds application in some crazy places and we shall be looking at that in the next post.

Good day!