The flow along a flexible membrane forced to undulate in the form of a streamwise travelling wave pattern is studied experimentally in detail. Flow field and force measurements confirm that the form drag of the wavy wall is significantly reduced when starting the undulatory motion. A mechanical model of an undulating membrane was built, based on previous investigations described in literature, and placed in an open water channel. The motion pattern of the membrane was prescribed in such a way to achieve a downstream travelling wave with increasing amplitude. The exploratory focus laid on the identification of hydrodynamic mechanisms of drag reduction due to undulatory motion. The wave-speed c of the travelling wave was set proportional to the incoming flow velocity U, according to an optimum ratio identified by previous numerical and experimental investigations. Poisson’s equation for the pressure was used to calculate the 2D pressure field from the experimental data of the unsteady flow field. In addition, the integral drag force of the membrane, as a function of c/U, was measured with a force balance to compare with previous published numerical findings. Furthermore, the velocities close to the surface of the membrane were measured, and the boundary layer profiles were determined. The resulting normalised velocity profiles affirm an oscillation between laminar and turbulent flow over one period of the motion. The results are in good agreement with previous experimental and numerical findings. Additionally, the characteristics of the flow along a travelling wave with increasing amplitude are discussed in more detail.
Experiments in Fluids – Springer Journals
Published: Sep 30, 2010
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