Finite-span rotating flat-plate wings at low reynolds number and the effects of aspect ratio
Carr, Zakery R.
MetadataShow full item record
In the complex and dangerous environments of the modern warrior and emergency professional, the small size, maneuverability, and stealth of flapping-wing micro air vehicles (MAVs), scaled to the size of large insects or hummingbirds, has the potential to provide previously inaccessible levels of situational awareness, reconnaissance capability, and flexibility directly to the front lines. Although development of such an efficient, autonomous, and capable MAV is years away, there are immediate contributions that can be made to the fundamental science of the flapping-wing-type propulsion that makes MAVs so attractive. This investigation contributes to those fundamentals by considering the unsteady vortex dynamics problem of a rigid, rectangular flat plate at a fixed angle of attack rotating from rest—a simplified hovering half-stroke. Parameters are chosen to be biologically-relevant and relevant to MAVs operating at Reynolds numbers of [special characters omitted](10 3 ), and experiments are performed in a 50% by mass glycerin-water mixture. These experiments use novel application of methodologies verified by rigorous uncertainty analysis. The overall objective is to understand the vortex formation and forces as well as aspect ratio ( AR ) effects. Of interest is the overall, time-varying, three-dimensional vortex structure obtained qualitatively from dye visualization and quantitatively from volumes reconstructed using planar stereoscopic digital particle image velocimetry (S-DPIV) measurements. The velocity information from S-DPIV also allows statements to be made on leading-edge vortex (LEV) stability, spanwise flow, LEV and tip-vortex (TV) circulation, and numerous circulation scalings. Force measurements are made and the lift coefficient is discussed in the context of the flow structure, the dimensional lift and the ability to relate velocity and force measurements going forward. AR effects is a topic of continued interest to those performing MAV-related research and also a primary objective here, so from both the S-DPIV and the force measurements the role of the TV is continually addressed via observed differences with AR.