BREAK-UP OF A WING TIP VORTEX
Revealed and studied for the first time in 1960, this break-up phenomenon characterizes the sudden
disorganisation of the vortices, which takes place under the effect of an adverse pressure gradient.
The colored streak emitted at the wing tip visualizes the vortex core, well-organized and stable at
first, then becoming unsteady and taking the shape of a helix of increasing diameter.
Image created by Henri Werlé. Reproduced with permission from his spectacular
collection Courants et Couleurs published in 1974 by ONERA, the French Aerospace Lab.
For further information, see
On the Flow of Fluids Made Visible,
Leonardo, Vol. 8, No. 4. (Autumn, 1975), pp. 329-331.