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-   -   The boundary layer thickness on an airfoil (http://www.cfd-online.com/Forums/main/106950-boundary-layer-thickness-airfoil.html)

 Nick R September 13, 2012 02:18

The boundary layer thickness on an airfoil

Hey guys,

I know that on a flat plate the boundary layer thickness is the thickness where streamwise velocity reaches 99% of the freestream speed. How does this work on an airfoil since the flow speeds up above the foil and slows down beneath it? Do we still use 99% of the free-stream as the thickness ?

cheers,
Nick R

 MHP September 13, 2012 09:37

Quote:
 Originally Posted by Nick R (Post 381524) Hey guys, I know that on a flat plate the boundary layer thickness is the thickness where streamwise velocity reaches 99% of the freestream speed. How does this work on an airfoil since the flow speeds up above the foil and slows down beneath it? Do we still use 99% of the free-stream as the thickness ? cheers, Nick R
Yes,of course.
No matter how much is your speed, whenever your speed in the perpendicular direction relative to the surface reaches 99% of the free stream,you can calculate BL thickness at that point.

 truffaldino September 13, 2012 09:56

Quote:
 Originally Posted by Nick R (Post 381524) Hey guys, I know that on a flat plate the boundary layer thickness is the thickness where streamwise velocity reaches 99% of the freestream speed. How does this work on an airfoil since the flow speeds up above the foil and slows down beneath it? Do we still use 99% of the free-stream as the thickness ? cheers, Nick R
Even on a flat plate one uses different notions of thikness for different purpoces. More meaningful (than 99%) notions of thikness are displacement thikness and momentum thikness. This depends on what for you need this thikness. If one wants to join inviscid solution far from airfoil with viscous bl solution it is necessary modify airfoil profile by displacement thikness. If one wants to find drag force, then it is defined by momentum thikness.

 Nick R September 13, 2012 20:22

thanks it makes sense

 MHP September 14, 2012 03:50

Quote:
 Originally Posted by MHP (Post 381632) Yes,of course. No matter how much is your speed, whenever your speed in the perpendicular direction relative to the surface reaches 99% of the free stream,you can calculate BL thickness at that point.
As an additional note,please pay attention that in advanced BL references the pressure gradient over the geometry is another issue that enter in BL thickness calculations, we use 0.99% of free stream velocity for flat plate,because in that case the free velocity is constant over the plate and there is no pressure gradient, but for airfoil depending on the geometry profiles there is pressure gradients.
good luck.