Feasibility of skin-friction field measurements in a transonic wind tunnel using a global luminescent oil film

Marco Costantini, Taekjin Lee, Taku Nonomura, Keisuke Asai, Christian Klein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Abstract: The feasibility of skin-friction field measurements using the global luminescent oil-film skin-friction field estimation method was evaluated for a challenging case of a supercritical airfoil model under transonic wind-tunnel conditions (freestream Mach number of 0.72) at a high Reynolds number (10 million, based on the model chord length). The oil-film thickness and skin-friction coefficient distributions were estimated over the airfoil model upper surface for a range of angles of attack (from - 0. 4 to 2. 0 ), thus enabling the study of different boundary-layer stability situations with laminar–turbulent transition, including cases with shock-wave/boundary-layer interaction. Conventional pressure measurements on the surface and in the wake of the model as well as Schlieren flow visualizations were conducted to support the oil-film based investigations. In the laminar-flow regions, the oil-film thickness could be generally kept below the critical limit of roughness that would induce premature boundary-layer transition. The skin friction in this region could be estimated with a moderate confidence level, as confirmed for portions of the chord by the reasonable agreement with numerical data obtained via laminar boundary-layer computations. Moreover, the location of transition onset was evaluated from the skin-friction estimations with relatively low uncertainty, thus enabling the examination of the transition location evolution with varying angle of attack. The estimated locations of transition onset were shown to be in general agreement with reference transition locations measured via temperature-sensitive paint. On the other hand, the oil-film thickness in the turbulent-flow regions was larger than the height of the viscous sublayer, which led to an hydraulically rough surface with increased skin friction, as compared to the clean configuration. For this reason, quantitative skin-friction estimations were not feasible in the turbulent-flow regions. The global effects of the oil-film setup on the flow around the airfoil were evaluated from the estimations of the aerodynamic coefficients. In particular, it was shown that the presence of the specific base coat used for the application of the oil film already induced a significant increase in airfoil drag, as compared to the clean configuration, whereas a thin oil film led to negligible or small additional increases in drag. Based on the present observations, considerations for the further improvement of the global luminescent oil-film skin-friction field estimation method in transonic flow experiments at high Reynolds numbers are elucidated. Graphic abstract: [Figure not available: see fulltext.]

Original languageEnglish
Article number21
JournalExperiments in Fluids
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Jan

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computational Mechanics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes


Dive into the research topics of 'Feasibility of skin-friction field measurements in a transonic wind tunnel using a global luminescent oil film'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this