An Experimental and Numerical Investigation of Flapping-Wing Propulsion
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Flapping-wing propulsion is investigated experimentally and numerically with direct comparisons between experimental and numerical thrust measurements for several geometrically simple configurations. Numerical simulations are performed using linear theory, and a previously developed, unsteady panel method that models one or two independently moving airfoils with three-degrees of freedom and non-linear deforming wakes. Experiments are carried out in the Naval Postgraduate School 5'×5' low-speed tunnel. A flapping mechanism that approximates the two-dimensional motions modeled by the panel code is suspended with cables in the wind tunnel, and thrust measurements are made by measuring the streamwise displacement of the model using a laser range-finder. The experimental flapping mechanism utilizes variable aspect-ratio wings and optional tip plates to investigate the effect of three-dimensionality. The device flaps two airfoils, each with two degrees of freedom and adjustable pitch and plunge amplitudes, and additional stationary wings may be attached up and/or downstream of the flapping wings to investigate interference effects.
AIAA Paper No. 99-0995, 37th AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting, Reno, Nevada, Jan. 1999.
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