A numerical analysis is performed to study the pre-stall and post-stall aerodynamic characteristics over a group of six airfoils using commercially available transition-sensitive and fully turbulent eddy-viscosity models. The study is focused on a range of Reynolds numbers from 6 × 104 to 2 × 106, wherein the flow around the airfoil is characterized by complex phenomena such as boundary layer transition, flow separation and reattachment, and formation of laminar separation bubbles on either the suction, pressure or both surfaces of airfoil. The predictive capability of the transition-sensitive k-kL model versus the fully turbulent SST k-ω model is investigated for all airfoils. The transition-sensitive k-kL model used in this study is capable of predicting both attached and separated turbulent flows over the surface of an airfoil without the need for an external linear stability solver to predict transition. The comparison between experimental data and results obtained from the numerical simulations is presented, which shows that the boundary layer transition and laminar separation bubbles that appear on the suction and pressure surfaces of the airfoil can be captured accurately by the use of a transition-sensitive model. The fully turbulent SST k-ω model predicts a turbulent boundary layer on both surfaces of the airfoil for all angles of attack and fails to predict boundary layer transition or separation bubbles. Discrepancies are observed in the predictions of airfoil stall by both the models. Reasons for the discrepancies between computational and experimental results, and also possible improvements in eddy-viscosity models, are discussed.

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