The flow around a circular leading edge airfoil is investigated in an incompressible, low turbulence freestream. Hot-wire measurements are performed through the separation bubble, the reattachment and the recovery region till development of the fully turbulent boundary layer. The results of the experiments in the range of Reynolds numbers 1.7×103 to 11.8×103 are analysed and presented in this paper. A separation bubble is present near the leading edge at all Reynolds numbers. At the lowest Reynolds number investigated, the transition is preceded by strong low frequency oscillations. The correlation given by Mayle for prediction of transition of short separation bubbles is successful at the lower Reynolds number cases. The length of the separation bubble reduces considerably with increasing Reynolds number in the range investigated. The turbulence in the reattached flow persists even when the Reynolds number based on momentum thickness of the reattached boundary layer is small. The recovery length of the reattached layer is relatively short and the mean velocity profile follows logarithmic law within a short distance downstream of the reattachment point and the friction coefficient conforms to Prandtl-Schlichting skin-friction formula for a smooth flat plate at zero incidence.

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