Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa

Scaling the propulsive performance of heaving flexible panels

  • Daniel B. Quinn (a1), George V. Lauder (a2) and Alexander J. Smits (a1) (a3)

We present an experimental investigation of flexible panels actuated with heave oscillations at their leading edge. Results are presented from kinematic video analysis, particle image velocimetry, and direct force measurements. Both the trailing edge amplitude and the mode shapes of the panel are found to scale with dimensionless parameters originating from the Euler–Bernoulli beam equation. The time-averaged net thrust increases with heaving frequency, but experiences localized boosts near resonant frequencies where the trailing edge amplitude is maximized. These boosts correspond to local maxima in the propulsive efficiency. For a constant heave amplitude, the time-averaged net thrust coefficient is shown to be a function of Strouhal number over a wide range of conditions. It appears, therefore, that self-propelled swimming (zero net thrust) only occurs over a small range of Strouhal numbers. Under these near-constant Strouhal number conditions, the propulsive economy increases with higher flexibilities and slower swimming speeds.

Corresponding author
Email address for correspondence:
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

S. Alben , C. Witt , T. V. Baker , E. Anderson & G. V. Lauder 2012 Dynamics of freely swimming flexible foils. Phys. Fluids 24, 051901.

J. J. Allen & A. J. Smits 2001 Energy harvesting eel. J. Fluids Struct. 15, 629640.

A. P. S. Bhalla , B. E. Griffith & N. A. Patankar 2013 A forced damped oscillation framework for undulatory swimming provides new insights into how propulsion arises in active and passive swimming. PLoS Comput. Biol. 9 (6), e1003097.

J. H. J. Buchholz & A. J. Smits 2006 On the evolution of the wake structure produced by a low-aspect-ratio pitching panel. J. Fluid Mech. 546, 433443.

T. L. Daniel & S. A. Combes 2002 Flexible wings and fins: bending by inertial or fluid-dynamic force? Integr. Compar. Biol. 42, 10441049.

S. Heathcote & I. Gursul 2007 Flexible flapping airfoil propulsion at low Reynolds numbers. AIAA 45 (5), 10661079.

M. Hultmark , M. Leftwich & A. J. Smits 2007 Flowfield measurements in the wake of a robotic lamprey. Exp. Fluids 43, 683690.

C. K. Kang , H. Aono , Y. S. Baik , L. P. Bernal & W. Shyy 2013 Fluid dynamics of pitching of plunging flat plate at intermediate Reynolds numbers. AIAA 51 (2), 315329.

G. V. Lauder , J. Lim , R. Shelton , C. Witt , E. Anderson & J. L. Tangorra 2011 Robotic models for studying undulatory locomotion in fishes. Mar. Technol. Soc. J. 45 (4), 4155.

G. V. Lauder & P. G. A. Madden 2007 Fish locomotion: kinematics and hydrodynamics of flexible foil-like fins. Exp. Fluids 43, 641653.

M. Leftwich , E. D. Tytell , A. H. Cohen & A. J. Smits 2012 Wake structures behind a swimming robotic lamprey. J. Expl Biol. 215, 416425.

S. Michelin & S. G. Llewellyn Smith 2009 Resonance and propulsion performance of a heaving flexible wing. Phys. Fluids 21, 071902.

J. Pederzani & H. Haj-Hariri 2006 Analysis of heaving flexible airfoils in viscous flow. AIAA 44 (11), 27732779.

S. Ramananarivo , R. Godoy-Diana & B. Thiria 2011 Rather than resonance, flapping wing flyers may play on aerodynamics to improve performance. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 108 (15), 59645969.

A. Sciacchitano , B. Wieneke & F. Scarano 2013 PIV uncertainty quantification by image matching. Meas. Sci. Technol. 24, 045302.

S. E. Spagnolie , L. Moret , M. J. Shelley & J. Zhang 2010 Surprising behaviours in flapping locomotion with passive pitching. Phys. Fluids 22, 041903.

M. Stanislas , K. Okamoto , C. J. Kahler & J. Westerweel 2005 Main results of the second international PIV challenge. Exp. Fluids 39, 170191.

G. K. Taylor , R. L. Nudds & A. L. R. Thomas 2003 Flying and swimming animals cruise at a Strouhal number tuned for high power efficiency. Nature 425, 707711.

G. S. Triantafyllou , M. S. Triantafyllou & M. A. Grosenbaugh 1993 Optimal thrust development in oscillating foils with application to fish propulsion. J. Fluids Struct. 7, 205224.

M. Vanella , T. Fitzgerald , S. Preidikman , E. Balaras & B. Balachandran 2009 Influence of flexibility on the aerodynamic performance of a hovering wing. J. Expl Biol. 212, 95105.

Q. Zhu 2007 Numerical simulation of a flapping foil with chordwise or spanwise flexibility. AIAA 45 (10), 24482457.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Journal of Fluid Mechanics
  • ISSN: 0022-1120
  • EISSN: 1469-7645
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-fluid-mechanics
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *



Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 161 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 227 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 23rd May 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.