High-fidelity simulations of moving and flexible airfoils at low Reynolds numbers

High-fidelity simulations of moving and flexible airfoils at low Reynolds numbers The present paper highlights results derived from the application of a high-fidelity simulation technique to the analysis of low-Reynolds-number transitional flows over moving and flexible canonical configurations motivated by small natural and man-made flyers. This effort addresses three separate fluid dynamic phenomena relevant to small fliers, including: laminar separation and transition over a stationary airfoil, transition effects on the dynamic stall vortex generated by a plunging airfoil, and the effect of flexibility on the flow structure above a membrane airfoil. The specific cases were also selected to permit comparison with available experimental measurements. First, the process of transition on a stationary SD7003 airfoil section over a range of Reynolds numbers and angles of attack is considered. Prior to stall, the flow exhibits a separated shear layer which rolls up into spanwise vortices. These vortices subsequently undergo spanwise instabilities, and ultimately breakdown into fine-scale turbulent structures as the boundary layer reattaches to the airfoil surface. In a time-averaged sense, the flow displays a closed laminar separation bubble which moves upstream and contracts in size with increasing angle of attack for a fixed Reynolds number. For a fixed angle of attack, as the Reynolds number decreases, the laminar separation bubble grows in vertical extent producing a significant increase in drag. For the lowest Reynolds number considered (Re c  = 104), transition does not occur over the airfoil at moderate angles of attack prior to stall. Next, the impact of a prescribed high-frequency small-amplitude plunging motion on the transitional flow over the SD7003 airfoil is investigated. The motion-induced high angle of attack results in unsteady separation in the leading edge and in the formation of dynamic-stall-like vortices which convect downstream close to the airfoil. At the lowest value of Reynolds number (Re c  = 104), transition effects are observed to be minor and the dynamic stall vortex system remains fairly coherent. For Re c  = 4 × 104, the dynamic-stall vortex system is laminar at is inception, however shortly afterwards, it experiences an abrupt breakdown associated with the onset of spanwise instability effects. The computed phased-averaged structures for both values of Reynolds number are found to be in good agreement with the experimental data. Finally, the effect of structural compliance on the unsteady flow past a membrane airfoil is investigated. The membrane deformation results in mean camber and large fluctuations which improve aerodynamic performance. Larger values of lift and a delay in stall are achieved relative to a rigid airfoil configuration. For Re c = 4.85 × 104, it is shown that correct prediction of the transitional process is critical to capturing the proper membrane structural response. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Experiments in Fluids Springer Journals

High-fidelity simulations of moving and flexible airfoils at low Reynolds numbers

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Publisher
Springer-Verlag
Copyright
Copyright © 2009 by Springer-Verlag
Subject
Engineering; Engineering Fluid Dynamics; Fluid- and Aerodynamics; Engineering Thermodynamics, Heat and Mass Transfer
ISSN
0723-4864
eISSN
1432-1114
D.O.I.
10.1007/s00348-009-0635-4
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The present paper highlights results derived from the application of a high-fidelity simulation technique to the analysis of low-Reynolds-number transitional flows over moving and flexible canonical configurations motivated by small natural and man-made flyers. This effort addresses three separate fluid dynamic phenomena relevant to small fliers, including: laminar separation and transition over a stationary airfoil, transition effects on the dynamic stall vortex generated by a plunging airfoil, and the effect of flexibility on the flow structure above a membrane airfoil. The specific cases were also selected to permit comparison with available experimental measurements. First, the process of transition on a stationary SD7003 airfoil section over a range of Reynolds numbers and angles of attack is considered. Prior to stall, the flow exhibits a separated shear layer which rolls up into spanwise vortices. These vortices subsequently undergo spanwise instabilities, and ultimately breakdown into fine-scale turbulent structures as the boundary layer reattaches to the airfoil surface. In a time-averaged sense, the flow displays a closed laminar separation bubble which moves upstream and contracts in size with increasing angle of attack for a fixed Reynolds number. For a fixed angle of attack, as the Reynolds number decreases, the laminar separation bubble grows in vertical extent producing a significant increase in drag. For the lowest Reynolds number considered (Re c  = 104), transition does not occur over the airfoil at moderate angles of attack prior to stall. Next, the impact of a prescribed high-frequency small-amplitude plunging motion on the transitional flow over the SD7003 airfoil is investigated. The motion-induced high angle of attack results in unsteady separation in the leading edge and in the formation of dynamic-stall-like vortices which convect downstream close to the airfoil. At the lowest value of Reynolds number (Re c  = 104), transition effects are observed to be minor and the dynamic stall vortex system remains fairly coherent. For Re c  = 4 × 104, the dynamic-stall vortex system is laminar at is inception, however shortly afterwards, it experiences an abrupt breakdown associated with the onset of spanwise instability effects. The computed phased-averaged structures for both values of Reynolds number are found to be in good agreement with the experimental data. Finally, the effect of structural compliance on the unsteady flow past a membrane airfoil is investigated. The membrane deformation results in mean camber and large fluctuations which improve aerodynamic performance. Larger values of lift and a delay in stall are achieved relative to a rigid airfoil configuration. For Re c = 4.85 × 104, it is shown that correct prediction of the transitional process is critical to capturing the proper membrane structural response.

Journal

Experiments in FluidsSpringer Journals

Published: Mar 5, 2009

References

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