Detection of flow separation and reattachment using shear-sensitive liquid crystals

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Coatings of pure chiral nematic liquid crystals are known to change colour under different levels of surface shear stress. In this study, the liquid crystal was used to provide information about flow separation and reattachment on both a two-dimensional aerofoil and a delta wing. The tests were carried out at a free-stream velocity of 28 m/s and a number of incidence angles. The Reynolds numbers based on the central chord length of the models were 200,000 and 270,000 for the aerofoil and delta wing models, respectively. The study showed that locations of boundary layer separation and reattachment can be identified from spatial variations in the surface colour; the agreement between the results and those obtained using surface oil flow was good. Issues relating to interpretation of the crystal colour pattern and the limitation of this technique in detection of flow separation were also discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)667-673
Number of pages6
JournalExperiments in Fluids
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2002


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