Flow separation in airfoils have been extensively studied to analyze the underlying physics of the phenomenon. The phenomenon being nonlinear requires tools to reveal various features involving stall, bifurcation, and transition to chaos. In this study, we perform numerical simulations of the flow past a symmetric airfoil (NACA-0012) at 1,000 Reynolds number to compute the aerodynamic forces at different angles of attack (α). The time histories and spectral analysis reveal important features of nonlinear behavior in the flow around the airfoil. We find that the steady state temporal solutions for aerodynamic forces; lift and drag, contain both odd and even harmonics which indicate the presence of quadratic as well as cubic nonlinearity in the system. These results also help to understand nonlinear behavior of the system as a function of α. Considering the angle of attack for airfoil as a control parameter, we observe that to achieve the static stall, flow becomes chaotic adopting a route through period-doubling and quasi-periodic regimes. Using phase portraits and Poincare maps between the states of the system, period-doubling is observed in this nonlinear system at α = 22° leading to chaos at α = 27°.

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