A comprehensive experimental study is conducted of the aerodynamic characteristics of an NACA0012 airfoil over a large range of angle (
) of attack and low- to ultra-low cord Reynolds numbers, 5.3×10
, which is of both fundamental and practical importance. While the mean and fluctuating lift and drag coefficients were measured using a load cell, the detailed flow structure is documented using particle image velocimetry and laser-induced fluorescence flow visualization.
increases monotonically from
= 0° to 90°, whilst
grows from 0 to its maximum at
= 45° and then drops. The near wake characteristics examined were found to be consistent with the force measurements, including the vortex formation length, wake width, spanwise vorticity, wake bubble size and wavelength of K-H vortices.