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Reduced-order unsteady aerodynamic models at low Reynolds numbers

Author(s): Brunton, Steven L; Rowley, Clarence W; Williams, David R

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Abstract: In this paper we develop reduced-order models for the unsteady lift on a pitching and plunging aerofoil over a range of angles of attack. In particular, we analyse the pitching and plunging dynamics for two cases: a two-dimensional flat plate at Re=100Re=100 using high-fidelity direct numerical simulations and a three-dimensional NACA 0006 aerofoil at Re=65000Re=65000 using wind-tunnel measurements. Models are obtained at various angles of attack and they are verified against measurements using frequency response plots and large-amplitude manoeuvres. These models provide a low-dimensional balanced representation of the relevant unsteady fluid dynamics. In simulations, flow structures are visualized using finite-time Lyapunov exponents. A number of phenomenological trends are observed, both in the data and in the models. As the base angle of attack increases, the boundary layer begins to separate, resulting in a decreased quasi-steady lift coefficient slope and a delayed relaxation to steady state at low frequencies. This extends the low-frequency range of motions that excite unsteady effects, meaning that the quasi-steady approximation is not valid until lower frequencies than are predicted by Theodorsen’s classical inviscid model. In addition, at small angles of attack, the lift coefficient rises to the steady-state value after a step in angle, while at larger angles of attack, the lift coefficient relaxes down to the steady-state after an initially high lift state. Flow visualization indicates that this coincides with the formation and convection of vortices at the leading edge and trailing edge. As the angle of attack approaches the critical angle for vortex shedding, the poles and zeros of the model approach the imaginary axis in the complex plane, and some zeros cross into the right half plane. This has significant implications for active flow control, which are discussed. These trends are observed in both simulations and wind-tunnel data.
Publication Date: Jun-2013
Electronic Publication Date: 29-Apr-2013
Citation: Brunton, Steven L, Rowley, Clarence W, Williams, David R. "Reduced-order unsteady aerodynamic models at low Reynolds numbers" Journal of Fluid Mechanics, 724, 203 - 233, doi:10.1017/jfm.2013.163
DOI: doi:10.1017/jfm.2013.163
ISSN: 0022-1120
EISSN: 1469-7645
Pages: 203 - 233
Type of Material: Journal Article
Journal/Proceeding Title: Journal of Fluid Mechanics
Version: This is the author’s final manuscript. All rights reserved to author(s).

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