The lens of exergy is used to investigate a wingtip vortex in the near wake over a range of angles of attack. Exergy is the measure of thermodynamically “available” energy as determined through the more discriminating second law of thermodynamics. Experiments were conducted in a water tunnel at Institute of Aerospace Systems at Aachen.
The data were taken three chord lengths downstream in the Trefftz plane of an aspect ratio 5 Clark-Y wing with a square-edged wing tip using particle image velocimetry. Intuitively, the minimum available energy state is expected to correspond to the maximum lift-to-drag ratio angle of attack. This, however, is not the case here. Most interestingly, although only two-dimensional Trefftz plane data were used to obtain the exergy distribution across the individual wing-tip vortices, the crossover point for the out-of-plane change from wakelike to jetlike wing-tip vortex core axial flow (indicating the peak lift-to-drag ratio) is identified by the in-plane exergy distribution. This crossover point is not identifiable in the evaluation of any other characteristics calculated from in-plane quantities. Consequently, the exergy method holds promise as a metric for the improvement of aircraft performance through the reduction of lift-induced drag.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/aaron-altman/4/