Postprint version. Published in International Journal of Aerodynamics, Volume 4, Issue 3/4, January 1, 2014, pages 135-153.
NOTE: At the time of publication, the author G. Doig was not yet affiliated with Cal Poly.
The influence of compressibility around an isolated inverted wing at a fixed Reynolds number was examined as relevant to the issue of wind tunnel scaling effects. Three-dimensional simulations were conducted for low ground clearances, at: full scale and a Mach number of 0.088, at 50% scale at Mach 0.176, and at 25% scale at Mach 0.352. As the scale was reduced, the increasing peak local Mach number between the wing and the ground resulted in a higher propensity of the flow to separate towards the trailing edge, and for incompressible or full-scale CFD to underestimate the lift and drag coefficients by an ever-increasing margin. The lower vortex path was less affected. The results suggest that compressible CFD of a scale experiment ought to be conducted at the same Reynolds number and Mach number as the tunnel test for the best possible correlation at free-stream Mach numbers beyond 0.15.