Airflow around an aircraft wingtip

Visualising the aerodynamic effects of airflow at an aircraft's wingtip. Wingtip vortices are circular patterns of rotating air left behind a wing as it generates lift and are associated with induced drag.

Streamlines over a wing and wingtip (ATPL).

The rise and fall of streamlines following the surface of a wing.

A preview of an interactive 3D model showing airflow around an aircraft wingtip.

An interactive view of airflow as it creates rotating vortices at a wing tip. Note that this uses a reduced dataset to improve real-time performance.

Rise and fall of streamlines following the surface of a wing (ATPL).

About this project

The main challenge presented with this project was managing a pipeline of tools that took model information from CAD data to a split-hexahedra mesh, and finally into a polygonal model.

One of the goals of the project was to capture the extent that air changes a long way past the trailing edge of the wing. This additional data significantly increased simulation time in OpenFOAM and the amount of data transferred between applications.

The final model highlights how airflow twists around itself at the edge of wingtip, and how this affects airflow above and below the wing surface.