Fluid forces on a very low Reynolds number airfoil and their prediction

Y. Zhou, Md Mahbub Alam, Hongxing Yang, H. Guo, D. H. Wood

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

58 Citations (Scopus)


This paper presents the measurements of mean and fluctuating forces on an NACA0012 airfoil over a large range of angle (α) of attack (0-90°) and low to small chord Reynolds numbers (Rec), 5.3×103-5.1×104, which is of both fundamental and practical importance. The forces, measured using a load cell, display good agreement with the estimate from the LDA-measured cross-flow distributions of velocities in the wake based on the momentum conservation. The dependence of the forces on both α and Recis determined and discussed in detail. It has been found that the stall of an airfoil, characterized by a drop in the lift force and a jump in the drag force, occurs at Rec≥1.05×104but is absent at Rec=5.3×103. A theoretical analysis is developed to predict and explain the observed dependence of the mean lift and drag on α.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)329-339
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Heat and Fluid Flow
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2011


  • Aerodynamics of airfoil
  • Low Reynolds number airfoil
  • Reynolds number effect
  • Stall of airfoil

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes


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