Effect of Reynolds Number on a Plunging Airfoil


Biomimetics is an area of science that studies the development of new technologies, whose source of inspiration is Nature. Unlike traditional aircraft, animals only have one structure to create both lift and thrust, and for Humans, although in the recent years the studies in this area increased, a long way must be made to achieve their capability. The present paper focuses on the effect of the Reynolds number on the wake configuration produced by a plunging airfoil. The experimental work was performed using an airstream, that was marked with smoke, with an oscillating airfoil NACA0012, whose dimensions are 44cm and 10cm of span and aerodynamic chord, respectively. The motion prescribed for the wing is harmonic, since it very well represents the type of motion seen in Nature. Frequency and amplitude were maintained, respectively, at 1.2Hz and 2.8cm, and the wind speed range from 0.25m/s to 1.00m/s, which represents a nondimensional amplitude of 0.28, a reduced frequencies of 3.02, 1.51 and 0.75, and a Strouhal number and a Reynolds number range of, 0.07 – 0.27 and 1,500 – 6,300, respectively. Results indicate that, with the increase of the Reynolds number, the convection effects become more predominant than diffusion effects, the curvature of the wakes and the maximum effective angle of attack decrease, and time and configuration of vortex shedding change. For Re = 1,500, St = 0.27, another relevant conclusion appears; the interaction of the leading-edge vortex with the trailing-edge vortex indicates an improvement of the aerodynamic performance of this system.

Keywords: Biomimetics, Plunging, Airfoil, Vortices, Wakes

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