Date of Award

Spring 1999

Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering


Aerospace Engineering

Committee Chair

Dr. Allen I. Ormsbee

Committee Advisor

Prof. Charles N. Eastlake, P.E.

Committee Member

Dr. Tej R. Gupta

Committee Member

Dr. Tej R. Gupta


Several sets of wind tunnel tests were performed to determine an optimum vortex generator configuration for a 1/4-scale model of the Piper Cherokee wing. Several variables were incorporated into this experiment in an effort to determine their influence on vortex generator performance enhancement (or degradation). Vane type vortex generators were used with 3 different leading edge sweeps: zero (rectangular planform), 20, and 45 degrees. Three different vortex generator heights were tested (0.05”, 0.1”, and 0.2”) to find the optimal vortex generator height relative to the local boundary layer thickness. The vortex generator angle of incidence relative to the freestream was varied from 10 to 30 degrees in increments of 5 degrees. Other variables included were spanwise row density, chordwise row location as well as number of rows, co- vs. counter-rotating vortex generator placement, and the influences of stagger and opposing rotation in successive rows. Some vortex generator configurations were found to both enhance lift and decrease cruise drag (by up to 10.7% and 4%, respectively). Other configurations were found to be beneficial in either lift (by up to 10.7%) or drag (by up to 14.5%).