What’s vortex generators?

[Ref Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge, FAA-H-8083-25B Page 5-46]

What’s vortex generators?

Source: https://www.boldmethod.com/learn-to-fly/aerodynamics/vortex-generators/

Vortex generators are little fins like device, with small low aspect ratio airfoils, which usually spaced a few inches apart along the wing ahead of the ailerons or other control surfaces.


Why the aircraft need vortex generators?

Vortex generators are used to delay or prevent shock wave induced boundary layer separation encountered in transonic flight.

Vortex generators create a vortex that mixes the boundary airflow with the high energy airflow just above the surface. Also, vortex generators reduce spanwise airflow. This produces higher surface velocities and increases the energy of the boundary layer. Thus, a stronger shock wave is necessary to produce airflow separation.


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