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Aerospace Effect of wing tip vortex reversal

  1. Feb 17, 2012 #1
    If there was any possibility of reversing the direction of wing tip vortices, what would the effects be? Is there any chance of increasing the thrust or lift?
    For example the right wing tip produces clockwise vortices and the left wing tip produces counter clockwise vortices(Aircraft viewed from back). What will happen if we somehow reverse the directions? i.e making right wing tip produce counter clockwise vortices and left wing tip produce clockwise vortices?
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 17, 2012 #2
    You can try to suppress them through proper airfoil design.

    The affect you be less or null vibratory forces onto the airfoil or wing.
  4. Feb 17, 2012 #3
    The affect onto the lift is a much more complicated problem. We can't simply say it will or won't increase lift if you suppress the shedding.
  5. Feb 17, 2012 #4


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    The problem with this thought experiment is that the wingtip vortices are a product of the flow over the wing. You can't change them without fundamentally changing the flow over the wing, so this hypothetical situation doesn't really make sense.
  6. Feb 17, 2012 #5
    But wingtips are being used to eliminate them without changing the flow right?
  7. Feb 17, 2012 #6


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    Wingtips? You mean winglets? Not exactly. Winglets and raked wingtips essentially take the wingtip vortices and move them to a new location that has less effect on the lift-generating portions of the wings.
  8. Feb 19, 2012 #7
    If designed the wing so that area near the tip was generating a downward force then the tip vortices would rotate in the opposite direction. But that is obviously not a good thing. The problem is that regardless of the direction they are rotating in they still result in drag. This is because energy is still spent making the air rotate. If you were to try some kind of flow control such as suction or blowing near the tip then it might be possible but it would probably require too much energy so it wouldn't be worth it. You are better off with a high aspect ration wing, well designed winglets and a good load distribution.
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