An experimental study was conducted to characterize the evolution of the unsteady vortex structures in the wake of a root-fixed flapping wing with the wing size, stroke amplitude, and flapping frequency within the range of insect characteristics for the development of novel insect-sized nano-air-vehicles (NAVs). The experiments were conducted in a low-speed wing tunnel with a miniaturized piezoelectric wing (i.e., chord length, C = 12.7 mm) flapping at a frequency of 60 Hz (i.e., f = 60 Hz). The non-dimensional parameters of the flapping wing are chord Reynolds number of Re = 1,200, reduced frequency of k = 3.5, and non-dimensional flapping amplitude at wingtip h = A/C = 1.35. The corresponding Strouhal number (Str) is 0.33, which is well within the optimal range of 0.2 < Str < 0.4 used by flying insects and birds and swimming fishes for locomotion. A digital particle image velocimetry (PIV) system was used to achieve phased-locked and time-averaged flow field measurements to quantify the transient behavior of the wake vortices in relation to the positions of the flapping wing during the upstroke and down stroke flapping cycles. The characteristics of the wake vortex structures in the chordwise cross planes at different wingspan locations were compared quantitatively to elucidate underlying physics for a better understanding of the unsteady aerodynamics of flapping flight and to explore/optimize design paradigms for the development of novel insect-sized, flapping-wing-based NAVs.
Experiments in Fluids – Springer Journals
Published: Feb 19, 2011
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