The complex aerodynamic footprint of desert locusts revealed by large-volume tomographic particle image velocimetry.
ABSTRACT: Particle image velocimetry has been the preferred experimental technique with which to study the aerodynamics of animal flight for over a decade. In that time, hardware has become more accessible and the software has progressed from the acquisition of planes through the flow field to the reconstruction of small volumetric measurements. Until now, it has not been possible to capture large volumes that incorporate the full wavelength of the aerodynamic track left behind during a complete wingbeat cycle. Here, we use a unique apparatus to acquire the first instantaneous wake volume of a flying animal's entire wingbeat. We confirm the presence of wake deformation behind desert locusts and quantify the effect of that deformation on estimates of aerodynamic force and the efficiency of lift generation. We present previously undescribed vortex wake phenomena, including entrainment around the wing-tip vortices of a set of secondary vortices borne of Kelvin-Helmholtz instability in the shear layer behind the flapping wings.
Project description:Large ears enhance perception of echolocation and prey generated sounds in bats. However, external ears likely impair aerodynamic performance of bats compared to birds. But large ears may generate lift on their own, mitigating the negative effects. We studied flying brown long-eared bats, using high resolution, time resolved particle image velocimetry, to determine the aerodynamics of flying with large ears. We show that the ears and body generate lift at medium to cruising speeds (3-5 m/s), but at the cost of an interaction with the wing root vortices, likely reducing inner wing performance. We also propose that the bats use a novel wing pitch mechanism at the end of the upstroke generating thrust at low speeds, which should provide effective pitch and yaw control. In addition, the wing tip vortices show a distinct spiraling pattern. The tip vortex of the previous wingbeat remains into the next wingbeat and rotates together with a newly formed tip vortex. Several smaller vortices, related to changes in circulation around the wing also spiral the tip vortex. Our results thus show a new level of complexity in bat wakes and suggest large eared bats are less aerodynamically limited than previous wake studies have suggested.
Project description:Analysis of the aerodynamics of flapping wings has yielded a general understanding of how birds generate lift and thrust during flight. However, the role of unsteady aerodynamics in avian flight due to the flapping motion still holds open questions in respect to performance and efficiency. We studied the flight of three distinctive bird species: western sandpiper (Calidris mauri), European starling (Sturnus vulgaris) and American robin (Turdus migratorius) using long-duration, time-resolved particle image velocimetry, to better characterize and advance our understanding of how birds use unsteady flow features to enhance their aerodynamic performances during flapping flight. We show that during transitions between downstroke and upstroke phases of the wing cycle, the near wake-flow structures vary and generate unique sets of vortices. These structures appear as quadruple layers of concentrated vorticity aligned at an angle with respect to the horizon (named 'double branch'). They occur where the circulation gradient changes sign, which implies that the forces exerted by the flapping wings of birds are modified during the transition phases. The flow patterns are similar in (non-dimensional) size and magnitude for the different birds suggesting that there are common mechanisms operating during flapping flight across species. These flow patterns occur at the same phase where drag reduction of about 5% per cycle and lift enhancement were observed in our prior studies. We propose that these flow structures should be considered in wake flow models that seek to account for the contribution of unsteady flow to lift and drag.
Project description:This paper describes the investigations performed to better understand unsteady effect that develop in a contra-rotating axial fan. More specifically, this study focuses on rotor-rotor interactions effects on unsteady characteristic and blade aerodynamic force. The investigation method is based on three-dimensional URANS simulations, in conjunction with SST turbulence model. At first, the experimental measurements are compared to evaluate ability of the numerical method in estimation of unsteady flows. The results show that rotor-rotor interaction in the contra-rotating fan played an important role in aerodynamic efficiency. Unsteady effect increased flow losses of rotor 1, but effectively inhibited flow losses of rotor 2. The inhibition effect was mainly caused by wake recovery effect of upstream wakes in the flow passage of rotor 2. Meanwhile, negative jet flow enhanced boundary layer energy of the blade of rotor 2, so that flow separation was postponed. Different configurations consider five sets of axial spacing dimensions. Specific survey of flows under the same operation conditions indicates that axial spacing is responsible for the unsteady interaction effect. The blade aerodynamics analysis shows that the influence of the downstream potential flow disturbance on rotor 1 is greater than the effect of the upstream wake on rotor 2.
Project description:There have been significant efforts recently aimed at improving the aerodynamic performance of aerofoils through the modification of their surfaces. Inspired by the drag-reducing properties of the tooth-like denticles that cover the skin of sharks, we describe here experimental and simulation-based investigations into the aerodynamic effects of novel denticle-inspired designs placed along the suction side of an aerofoil. Through parametric modelling to query a wide range of different designs, we discovered a set of denticle-inspired surface structures that achieve simultaneous drag reduction and lift generation on an aerofoil, resulting in lift-to-drag ratio improvements comparable to the best-reported for traditional low-profile vortex generators and even outperforming these existing designs at low angles of attack with improvements of up to 323%. Such behaviour is enabled by two concurrent mechanisms: (i) a separation bubble in the denticle's wake altering the flow pressure distribution of the aerofoil to enhance suction and (ii) streamwise vortices that replenish momentum loss in the boundary layer due to skin friction. Our findings not only open new avenues for improved aerodynamic design, but also provide new perspective on the role of the complex and potentially multifunctional morphology of shark denticles for increased swimming efficiency.
Project description:Aerodynamic theory has long been used to predict the power required for animal flight, but widely used models contain many simplifications. It has been difficult to ascertain how closely biological reality matches model predictions, largely because of the technical challenges of accurately measuring the power expended when an animal flies. We designed a study to measure flight speed-dependent aerodynamic power directly from the kinetic energy contained in the wake of bats flying in a wind tunnel. We compared these measurements with two theoretical predictions that have been used for several decades in diverse fields of vertebrate biology and to metabolic measurements from a previous study using the same individuals. A high-accuracy displaced laser sheet stereo particle image velocimetry experimental design measured the wake velocities in the Trefftz plane behind four bats flying over a range of speeds (3-7 m s(-1)). We computed the aerodynamic power contained in the wake using a novel interpolation method and compared these results with the power predicted by Pennycuick's and Rayner's models. The measured aerodynamic power falls between the two theoretical predictions, demonstrating that the models effectively predict the appropriate range of flight power, but the models do not accurately predict minimum power or maximum range speeds. Mechanical efficiency--the ratio of aerodynamic power output to metabolic power input--varied from 5.9% to 9.8% for the same individuals, changing with flight speed.
Project description:Many functions have been postulated for the aerodynamic role of the avian tail during steady-state flight. By analogy with conventional aircraft, the tail might provide passive pitch stability if it produced very low or negative lift. Alternatively, aeronautical principles might suggest strategies that allow the tail to reduce inviscid, induced drag: if the wings and tail act in different horizontal planes, they might benefit from biplane-like aerodynamics; if they act in the same plane, lift from the tail might compensate for lift lost over the fuselage (body), reducing induced drag with a more even downwash profile. However, textbook aeronautical principles should be applied with caution because birds have highly capable sensing and active control, presumably reducing the demand for passive aerodynamic stability, and, because of their small size and low flight speeds, operate at Reynolds numbers two orders of magnitude below those of light aircraft. Here, by tracking up to 20,000, 0.3?mm neutrally buoyant soap bubbles behind a gliding barn owl, tawny owl and goshawk, we found that downwash velocity due to the body/tail consistently exceeds that due to the wings. The downwash measured behind the centreline is quantitatively consistent with an alternative hypothesis: that of constant lift production per planform area, a requirement for minimizing viscous, profile drag. Gliding raptors use lift distributions that compromise both inviscid induced drag minimization and static pitch stability, instead adopting a strategy that reduces the viscous drag, which is of proportionately greater importance to lower Reynolds number fliers.
Project description:Many small passerines regularly fly slowly when catching prey, flying in cluttered environments or landing on a perch or nest. While flying slowly, passerines generate most of the flight forces during the downstroke, and have a 'feathered upstroke' during which they make their wing inactive by retracting it close to the body and by spreading the primary wing feathers. How this flight mode relates aerodynamically to the cruising flight and so-called 'normal hovering' as used in hummingbirds is not yet known. Here, we present time-resolved fluid dynamics data in combination with wingbeat kinematics data for three pied flycatchers flying across a range of speeds from near hovering to their calculated minimum power speed. Flycatchers are adapted to low speed flight, which they habitually use when catching insects on the wing. From the wake dynamics data, we constructed average wingbeat wakes and determined the time-resolved flight forces, the time-resolved downwash distributions and the resulting lift-to-drag ratios, span efficiencies and flap efficiencies. During the downstroke, slow-flying flycatchers generate a single-vortex loop wake, which is much more similar to that generated by birds at cruising flight speeds than it is to the double loop vortex wake in hovering hummingbirds. This wake structure results in a relatively high downwash behind the body, which can be explained by the relatively active tail in flycatchers. As a result of this, slow-flying flycatchers have a span efficiency which is similar to that of the birds in cruising flight and which can be assumed to be higher than in hovering hummingbirds. During the upstroke, the wings of slowly flying flycatchers generated no significant forces, but the body-tail configuration added 23 per cent to weight support. This is strikingly similar to the 25 per cent weight support generated by the wing upstroke in hovering hummingbirds. Thus, for slow-flying passerines, the upstroke cannot be regarded as inactive, and the tail may be of importance for flight efficiency and possibly manoeuvrability.
Project description:The diversity of wing morphologies in birds reflects their variety of flight styles and the associated aerodynamic and inertial requirements. Although the aerodynamics underlying wing morphology can be informed by aeronautical research, important differences exist between planes and birds. In particular, birds operate at lower, transitional Reynolds numbers than do most aircraft. To date, few quantitative studies have investigated the aerodynamic performance of avian wings as fixed lifting surfaces and none have focused upon the differences between wings from different flight style groups. Dried wings from 10 bird species representing three distinct flight style groups were mounted on a force/torque sensor within a wind tunnel in order to test the hypothesis that wing morphologies associated with different flight styles exhibit different aerodynamic properties. Morphological differences manifested primarily as differences in drag rather than lift. Maximum lift coefficients did not differ between groups, whereas minimum drag coefficients were lowest in undulating flyers (Corvids). The lift to drag ratios were lower than in conventional aerofoils and data from free-flying soaring species; particularly in high frequency, flapping flyers (Anseriformes), which do not rely heavily on glide performance. The results illustrate important aerodynamic differences between the wings of different flight style groups that cannot be explained solely by simple wing-shape measures. Taken at face value, the results also suggest that wing-shape is linked principally to changes in aerodynamic drag, but, of course, it is aerodynamics during flapping and not gliding that is likely to be the primary driver.
Project description:Reliable modelling in structural engineering is crucial for the serviceability and safety of structures. A huge variety of aerodynamic models for aeroelastic analyses of bridges poses natural questions on their complexity and thus, quality. Moreover, a direct comparison of aerodynamic models is typically either not possible or senseless, as the models can be based on very different physical assumptions. Therefore, to address the question of principal comparability and complexity of models, a more abstract approach, accounting for the effect of basic physical assumptions, is necessary. This paper presents an application of a recently introduced category theory-based modelling approach to a diverse set of models from bridge aerodynamics. Initially, the categorical approach is extended to allow an adequate description of aerodynamic models. Complexity of the selected aerodynamic models is evaluated, based on which model comparability is established. Finally, the utility of the approach for model comparison and characterization is demonstrated on an illustrative example from bridge aeroelasticity. The outcome of this study is intended to serve as an alternative framework for model comparison and impact future model assessment studies of mathematical models for engineering applications.
Project description:In the analysis of flexible flapping wings of insects, the aerodynamic outcome depends on the combined structural dynamics and unsteady fluid physics. Because the wing shape and hence the resulting effective angle of attack are a priori unknown, predicting aerodynamic performance is challenging. Here, we show that a coupled aerodynamics/structural dynamics model can be established for hovering, based on a linear beam equation with the Morison equation to account for both added mass and aerodynamic damping effects. Lift strongly depends on the instantaneous angle of attack, resulting from passive pitch associated with wing deformation. We show that both instantaneous wing deformation and lift can be predicted in a much simplified framework. Moreover, our analysis suggests that resulting wing kinematics can be explained by the interplay between acceleration-related and aerodynamic damping forces. Interestingly, while both forces combine to create a high angle of attack resulting in high lift around the midstroke, they offset each other for phase control at the end of the stroke.