3D visualization of unsteady 2D airplane wake vortices

Kwan-Liu Ma, Z. C. Zheng

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Air flowing around the wing tips of an airplane forms horizontal tornado-like vortices that can be dangerous to following aircraft. The dynamics of such vortices, including ground and atmospheric effects, can be predicted by numerical simulation, allowing the safety and capacity of airports to be improved. In this paper, we introduce three-dimensional techniques for visualizing time-dependent, two-dimensional wake vortex computations, and the hazard strength of such vortices near the ground. We describe a vortex core tracing algorithm and a local tiling method to visualize the vortex evolution. The tiling method converts time-dependent, two-dimensional vortex cores into three-dimensional vortex tubes. Finally, a novel approach is used to calculate the induced rolling moment on the following airplane at each grid point within a region near the vortex tubes and thus allows three-dimensional visualization of the hazard strength of the vortices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)124-131
Number of pages8
JournalProceedings Visualization
StatePublished - Dec 1 1994
Externally publishedYes
EventProceedings of the 1994 IEEE Visualization Conference - Washington, DC, USA
Duration: Oct 17 1994Oct 21 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering(all)


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