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  • Journal of Fluid Mechanics, Volume 650
  • May 2010, pp. 415-425

Hovering of a rigid pyramid in an oscillatory airflow

  • DOI:
  • Published online: 19 March 2010

We investigate the dynamics of rigid bodies (hollow ‘pyramids’) placed within a background airflow, oscillating with zero mean. The asymmetry of the body introduces a net upward force. We find that when the amplitude of the airflow is above a threshold, the net lift exceeds the weight and the object starts to hover. Our results show that the objects hover at far smaller air amplitudes than would be required by a quasi-steady theory, although this theory accounts qualitatively for the behaviour of the system as the body mass becomes small.

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D. E. Alexander 2002 Nature's Flyers: Birds, Insects, and the Biomechanics of Flight. The Johns Hopkins University Press.

D. L. Altshuler , W. B. Dickson , J. T. Vance , S. P. Roberts & M. H. Dickinson 2005 Short-amplitude high-frequency wing strokes determine the aerodynamics of honeybee flight. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 102, 1821318218.

S. Childress , N. Vandenberghe & J. Zhang 2006 Hovering of a passive body in an oscillating airflow. Phys. Fluids 18, 117103.

J. O. Dabiri 2005 On the estimation of swimming and flying forces from wake measurements. J. Exp. Biol. 208, 35193532.

E. Kanso , J. E. Marsden , C. W. Rowley & J. B. Melli-Huber 2005 Locomotion of articulated bodies in a perfect fluid. J. Nonlinear Sci. 15, 255289.

E. M. Purcell 1977 Life at low Reynolds number. Am. J. Phys. 45, 311.

S. E. Spagnolie & M. J. Shelley 2009 Shape-changing bodies in fluid: Hovering, ratcheting, and bursting. Phys. Fluids 21, 013103.

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Journal of Fluid Mechanics
  • ISSN: 0022-1120
  • EISSN: 1469-7645
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