Douglas A4D-1, Skyhawk, 1956 Leading edge slat deployed, with vortex generators visible

vortex generator (VG) an aerodynamic device, consisting of a small vane usually attached to a lifting surface, such as an aircraft wing or a propeller blade of a wind turbine, or attached to some part of an aerodynamic vehicle such as an aircraft fuselage or a car, thereby improving the effectiveness of wings and control surfaces, such as flaps, elevators, ailerons, and rudders.
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  • vortex (pl. vortices) – a spinning, often turbulent, flow of fluid. The motion of the fluid swirling rapidly around a center is called a vortex. The speed and rate of rotation of the fluid are greatest at the center and become smaller with distance from the center.
  • fluid – a substance that can easily move and change shape such as water (liquids), or air (gases), or plasmas. Fluids usually take on the shape of the objects that they touch, in contrast to solids which maintain their own shape.
  • flow separation – when the aerofoil or the body is in motion, the vortex generator creates a vortex. It removes part of the slow-moving boundary layer in contact with the aerofoil surface, and delays local flow separation and aerodynamic stalling

Engineering ideas

  • lifting surface, turbine, propeller, fuselage, control surface, motion, vortex,flow, boundary layer, flow separation, stalling, fluid

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Challenges for you to work on…

  • Find examples of vortex generator use in aviation, cars or wind turbines. Think about the airflow and how the vortex generator alters the flow.

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Irrotational vortex

vortex – a region in a fluid in which the flow is rotating around an axis line, which may be straight or curved.

The plural of vortex is either vortices or vortexes.

Vortices form in stirred fluids, and may be observed in phenomena such as smoke rings, whirlpools in the wake of boat, or the winds surrounding a tornado or dust devil.

  • Irrotational vortex
  • Rotational vortex

Engineering ideas

  • fluid mechanics, axix, flow, curve, curl

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Challenges for you to work on…

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