As a fundamental phenomenon of fluid mechanics, recent studies suggested laminar-turbulent transition belonging to the universality class of directed percolation. Here, the onset of a laminar separation bubble on an airfoil is analyzed in terms of the directed percolation model using particle image velocimetry data. Our findings indicate a clear significance of percolation models in a general flow situation beyond fundamental ones. We show that our results are robust against fluctuations of the parameter, namely, the threshold of turbulence intensity, that maps velocimetry data into binary cells (turbulent or laminar). In particular, this percolation approach enables the precise determination of the transition point of the laminar separation bubble, an important problem in aerodynamics.
Traphan, D., Wester, T. T. B., Gülker, G., Peinke, J., & Lind, P. G. (2018). Aerodynamics and Percolation: Unfolding Laminar Separation Bubble on Airfoils. Physical Review X, 8(2). https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevX.8.021015