BiGlobal linear stability analysis on low-Re flow past an airfoil at high angle of attack

Wei Zhang, Ravi Samtaney

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39 Scopus citations


We perform BiGlobal linear stability analysis on flow past a NACA0012 airfoil at 16° angle of attack and Reynolds number ranging from 400 to 1000. The steady-state two-dimensional base flows are computed using a well-tested finite difference code in combination with the selective frequency damping method. The base flow is characterized by two asymmetric recirculation bubbles downstream of the airfoil whose streamwise extent and the maximum reverse flow velocity increase with the Reynolds number. The stability analysis of the flow past the airfoil is carried out under very small spanwise wavenumber β = 10−4 to approximate the two-dimensional perturbation, and medium and large spanwise wavenumbers (β = 1–8) to account for the three-dimensional perturbation. Numerical results reveal that under small spanwise wavenumber, there are at most two oscillatory unstable modes corresponding to the near wake and far wake instabilities; the growth rate and frequency of the perturbation agree well with the two-dimensional direct numerical simulation results under all Reynolds numbers. For a larger spanwise wavenumber β = 1, there is only one oscillatory unstable mode associated with the wake instability at Re = 400 and 600, while at Re = 800 and 1000 there are two oscillatory unstable modes for the near wake and far wake instabilities, and one stationary unstable mode for the monotonically growing perturbation within the recirculation bubble via the centrifugal instability mechanism. All the unstable modes are weakened or even suppressed as the spanwise wavenumber further increases, among which the stationary mode persists until β = 4.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)044105
JournalPhysics of Fluids
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 5 2016

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledged KAUST grant number(s): URF/1/1394-01
Acknowledgements: The work was supported by the KAUST Office of Competitive Research Funds under Award
No. URF/1/1394-01. The IBM Blue Gene/P Shaheen at KAUST was utilized for the simulations.


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