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Note on the limitations of the Theodorsen and Sears functions

  • Ulrike Cordes (a1), G. Kampers (a2), T. Meißner (a1), C. Tropea (a1), J. Peinke (a2) and M. Hölling (a2)...

Two transfer functions for the unsteady lift response of an airfoil under attached flow conditions are experimentally investigated: the Theodorsen function for an airfoil oscillating in a constant free stream and the Sears function for a steady airfoil encountering a sinusoidal vertical gust. A two-dimensional airfoil with a Clark Y profile is submitted to two different unsteady excitations of distinct frequencies: a pitching oscillation around the leading edge and a sinusoidal vertical gust. The reduced frequency of the perturbation is in the range of $0.025 and the Reynolds number of the undisturbed flow is in the range of $120\,000<\mathit{Re}<300\,000$ . While the Theodorsen function is found to be a good estimator for the unsteady lift at moderate mean angles of attack, the Sears function does not capture the experimental transfer functions in frequency dependence or in limiting values. A second-order model provided by Atassi (J. Fluid Mech., vol. 141, 1984, pp. 109–122) agrees well with the experimental transfer function.

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Journal of Fluid Mechanics
  • ISSN: 0022-1120
  • EISSN: 1469-7645
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-fluid-mechanics
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