Experimental investigation of the flow structure over a delta wing via flow visualization methods

Lu Shen, Zong Nan Chen, Chih-yung Wen

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


It is well known that the flow field over a delta wing is dominated by a pair of counter rotating leading edge vortices (LEV). However, their mechanism is not well understood. The flow visualization technique is a promising non-intrusive method to illustrate the complex flow field spatially and temporally. A basic flow visualization setup consists of a high-powered laser and optic lenses to generate the laser sheet, a camera, a tracer particle generator, and a data processor. The wind tunnel setup, the specifications of devices involved, and the corresponding parameter settings are dependent on the flow features to be obtained. Normal smoke wire flow visualization uses a smoke wire to demonstrate the flow streaklines. However, the performance of this method is limited by poor spatial resolution when it is conducted in a complex flow field. Therefore, an improved smoke flow visualization technique has been developed. This technique illustrates the large-scale global LEV flow field and the small-scale shear layer flow structure at the same time, providing a valuable reference for later detailed particle image velocimetry (PIV) measurement. In this paper, the application of the improved smoke flow visualization and PIV measurement to study the unsteady flow phenomena over a delta wing is demonstrated. The procedure and cautions for conducting the experiment are listed, including wind tunnel setup, data acquisition, and data processing. The representative results show that these two flow visualization methods are effective techniques for investigating the three-dimensional flow field qualitatively and quantitatively.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere57244
JournalJournal of Visualized Experiments
Issue number134
Publication statusPublished - 23 Apr 2018


  • Delta wing
  • Engineering
  • Issue 134
  • Leading edge vortex
  • Particle image velocimetry
  • Smoke flow visualization
  • Vortex breakdown
  • Vortex oscillation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)


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