Flexible plate structures with integrated piezoelectric patches offer interesting possibilities when considered as actuation mechanisms for energy harvesting devices, cooling devices and propulsion devices of micro-aerial vehicles. Most of the studies reported in literature are based on the assumption of a 2D aerodynamic flow. However, the flow behind a finite span wing is significantly more complex than that of an infinite span wing. In order to corroborate this statement, the present experimental study contains high-speed particle image velocimetry measurements performed on a piezoelectric finite span wing oscillating in air, at 84.8 Hz. The paper focuses on the situation of low Keulegan–Carpenter numbers (KC < 3). The dimensionless KC number describes the relative importance of the drag forces over inertia forces for objects that oscillate in a fluid flow at rest. The evolution of the unsteady vortex structures near the plate is characterized for different conditions. This allows a better understanding of the unsteady aerodynamics of flapping flight. The accomplished experimental data analysis has shown that the flow phenomena are strongly dependent on the KC values.
Experiments in Fluids – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 20, 2013
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