Vortex generator

From Academic Kids

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Cessna182withVotexGenerators02.jpg
1967 Model Cessna 182K in flight showing after-market vortex generators on the wing leading edge
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VortexGenerators01.JPG
After-market Micro Dynamics vortex generators mounted on the wing of a Cessna 182K

A vortex generator is an aerodynamic surface, basically a small wing, that creates a vortex. They can be found in many devices, but the term is most often used in aircraft design.

Vortex generators are added to the front of a swept-wing in order to maintain steady airflow over the control surfaces at the rear of the wing. They are typically rectangular or triangular, about a centimetre or two in size, and run in lines chordwise at about the thickest part of the wing. They can be seen on the wings and vertical tails of many airliners.

The purpose of the generators are to stick out of the stagnant air near the surface of the wing, and into the freely moving air outside the boundary layer. This layer is typically quite thin, but dramatically reduces speed of the airflow towards the rear of the wing. The generators mix the free stream with the stagnant air to get it moving again, providing considerably more airflow at the rear of the wing and thereby providing the control surfaces with more power. This process is typically referred to as re-energizing the airflow.

Most aircraft carry vortex generators from time of manufacture, but there are after-market suppliers who sell VG kits to improve the STOL performance of some light aircraft.


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