An integral boundary layer engineering model for vortex generators implemented in XFOIL

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To assess and optimize vortex generators (VGs) for flow separation control, the effect of these devices should be modelled in a cost and time efficient way. Therefore, it is of interest to extend integral boundary layer models to analyse the effect of VGs on airfoil performance. In this work, the turbulent boundary layer formulation is modified using a source term approach. An additional term is added to the shear-lag equation, to account for the increased dissipation due to streamwise vortex action in the boundary layer, forcing transition at the VG leading edge where applicable. The source term is calibrated and a semi-empirical relation is set up and implemented in XFOIL. The modified code is capable of addressing the effect of the VG height, length, inflow angle, and chordwise position on the airfoil's aerodynamic properties. The predicted polars for airfoils with VGs show a good agreement with reference data, and the code robustness is demonstrated by assessing different airfoil families at a wide range of Reynolds numbers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)906-921
Number of pages16
JournalWind Energy
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018


  • Integral boundary layer
  • Separation control
  • Source term
  • Vortex generator
  • Xfoil

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