To understand the fluid dynamics of a biologically inspired unsteady low-aspect-ratio propulsor, unsteady pressure distributions were measured and compared with time-averaged thrust performance and wake visualizations. The experiments were performed on rigid rectangular panels with different aspect ratios, pitching in a uniform flow. Panel aspect ratio and pitching amplitude were shown to affect the magnitude and time dependence of the pressure distribution on the panel surface, the vorticity generation on the panel, and thrust production. A new scaling is proposed that includes these parameters and collapses the oscillating pressure magnitude and the thrust coefficient.
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