RES.TLL-004 | Fall 2013 | Undergraduate

STEM Concept Videos


Vector Fields


This video takes a look at a smoke probe visualization of airflow over a model of an F16 aircraft. The visualization is created in the Wright Brothers Wind Tunnel. Two flow regimes are shown. The first is a low angle of attack visualization, where the flow field appears steady, or independent of time. The second flow regime has the model at a high angle of attack. In this case, the flow appears unsteady, which shows that the flow field has a time dependence. Prof. Dave Darmofal ends the demonstration by discussing how these visualizations are used in engineering.

Learning Objectives

After watching this video students will be able to:

  • Understand that flow quantities around bodies are often analyzed in Eulerian frame.
  • Recognize that flow velocity is a vector field, which can be a function of space or a function of space and time.

Funding provided by the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD)

Developed by the Teaching and Learning Laboratory (TLL) at MIT for SUTD

MIT © 2012

During the video, students will:

  • Observe the flow field around an airplane wing in a wind tunnel, using a smoke probe visualization.
  • Connect the definition of the vector field and their understanding of flow lines to a visual example.