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Turbulence Modeling for Leading-Edge Vortices: An Enhancement Based on Experimental Data

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Low-aspect ratio wing planforms, such as delta wings, experience the predominance on their aerodynamic characteristics of large-scale leading-edge vortices separating around the leading edges. Due to their important application for highly maneuverable aircraft, the physical and aerodynamic understanding related to the vortex flow is of primary relevance. The investigation process is routinely performed with numerical simulations employing Reynolds-averaged Navier–Stokes equations. As the vortex grows in intensity, the limitation of ordinary models reduces the accuracy grade. Scale-resolving or more complex turbulence models can increase the accuracy, but the computational cost prohibits the application to a large envelope of cases. In the context of this work, the enhancement of a one-equation eddy-viscosity model is employed. The model is improved by formulating additional vortex source terms exclusively active inside the vortex-flow region and by employing a calibration procedure that is integrated into an iterative automated process where experimental data are used as targets for optimizing the model. The accuracy is enhanced for a cluster of cases around the calibration target, and it shows the potential of the application to large datasets that include several geometric and flow condition variations.