Unsteady Aerodynamic Calculations of Flapping Wing Motion

Akay, Büşra
The present thesis aims at shedding some light for future applications of μAVs by investigating the hovering mode of flight by flapping motion. In this study, a detailed numerical investigation is performed to investigate the effect of some geometrical parameters, such as the airfoil profile shapes, thickness and camber distributions and as well as the flapping motion kinematics on the aerodynamic force coefficients and vortex formation mechanisms at low Reynolds number. The numerical analysis tool is a DNS code using the moving grid option. Laminar Navier-Stokes computations are done for flapping motion using the prescribed kinematics in the Reynolds number range of 101-103. The flow field for flapping hover flight is investigated for elliptic profiles having thicknesses of 12%, 9% and 1% of their chord lengths and compared with those of NACA 0009, NACA 0012 and SD 7003 airfoil profiles all having chord lengths of 0.01m for numerical computations. Computed aerodynamic force coefficients are compared for these profiles having different centers of rotation and angles of attack. NACA profiles have slightly higher lift coefficients than the ellipses of the same t/c ratio. And one of the most important conclusions is that the use of elliptic and NACA profiles with 9% and 12% thicknesses do not differ much as far as the aerodynamic force coefficients is concerned for this Re number regime. Also, two different sinusoidal flapping motions are analyzed. Force coefficients and vorticity contours obtained from the experiments in the literature and present study are compared. The validation of the present computational results with the experimental results available in the literature encourages us to conclude that present numerical method can be a reliable alternative to experimental techniques.


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Citation Formats
B. Akay, “Unsteady Aerodynamic Calculations of Flapping Wing Motion,” M.S. - Master of Science, Middle East Technical University, 2007.