The flow of air around a sail is very different to that of a wing, but both generate significant lift force. Ignazio Maria Viola at the University of Edinburgh studied sails in numerical simulations and experiments to discover the force comes from vortices that are produced at the edges of the sail. By controlling the strength and location of these vortices he hopes to be able to produce faster and more efficient sails in the future.
This video is part of a collaboration between FYFD and the Journal of Fluid Mechanics featuring a series of interviews with researchers from the APS DFD 2017 conference.
Sponsored by FYFD, the Journal of Fluid Mechanics, and the UK Fluids Network. Produced by Tom Crawford and Nicole Sharp with assistance from A.J. Fillo.