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Aerospace 2017, 4(4), 53; doi:10.3390/aerospace4040053

Experimental Investigation of the Wake and the Wingtip Vortices of a UAV Model

Laboratory of Fluid Mechanics and Turbomachinery, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, 54124 Thessaloniki, Greece
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 5 October 2017 / Revised: 28 October 2017 / Accepted: 30 October 2017 / Published: 1 November 2017
(This article belongs to the Collection Unmanned Aerial Systems)


An experimental investigation of the wake of an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) model using flow visualization techniques and a 3D Laser Doppler Anemometry (LDA) system is presented in this work. Emphasis is given on the flow field at the wingtip and the investigation of the tip vortices. A comparison of the velocity field is made with and without winglet devices installed at the wingtips. The experiments are carried out in a closed-circuit subsonic wind tunnel. The flow visualization techniques include smoke-wire and smoke-probe experiments to identify the flow phenomena, whereas for accurately measuring the velocity field point measurements are conducted using the LDA system. Apart from the measured velocities, vorticity and circulation quantities are also calculated and compared for the two cases. The results help to provide a more detailed view of the flow field around the UAV and indicate the winglets’ significant contribution to the deconstruction of wing-tip vortex structures. View Full-Text
Keywords: UAV; measurements; LDA; vortex; winglets UAV; measurements; LDA; vortex; winglets

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Panagiotou, P.; Ioannidis, G.; Tzivinikos, I.; Yakinthos, K. Experimental Investigation of the Wake and the Wingtip Vortices of a UAV Model. Aerospace 2017, 4, 53.

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