For the past few decades flapping wing aerodynamics has attracted a great deal of research interest from both the aeronautical and biological communities pertaining to the development of MAVs. The objective of this study is to examine and understand the effect of non-dimensional plunge amplitude and reduced frequency on propulsive performance of NACA 4-digit airfoil series and to examine the performance characteristics of square plunge motion and trapezoidal plunge motion. Two dimensional flow simulations around plunging symmetric aerofoils were performed using FLUENT. The simulations were carried out at Reynolds number of 20000 using incompressible laminar, NS solver. The reduced frequency (k) was varied from 0.5–5 and the plunging amplitude (h) was varied from 0.25–1.5. The plunging motions to the aerofoils were provided through UDFs. The effect of variation of k and h on the thrust coefficient (CT), power-input coefficient (CP) and propulsive efficiency (η) is studied. CT value is maximum for square plunge profile for all the airfoils. However, for a given value of h, with the increase in k, CT increases with increasing thickness of the airfoil and reaches a maximum value for airfoil thickness of NACA0018 and then starts decreasing. With varying h and k, it was observed that the propulsive efficiency reached a peak value and the peak shifts to higher h and k with increasing airfoil thickness. From the above study, it was concluded that airfoil thickness played a major part in influencing the thrust generation at low Strouhal number. However, at high Strouhal numbers airfoils showed diverse trends with respect to thrust generation. Sinusoidal plunging motion was more efficient but generated less thrust when compared to square and trapezoidal plunging motions.
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R. Sankarasubramanian, Sridhar, A., Prashanth, M. S., Mohammad, A., Dr. Ratna Kishore V., and Dr. Laxman Vaitla, “Influence of Thickness on Performance Characteristics of Non-sinusoidal Plunging Motion of Symmetric Airfoil”, Aerospace Science and Technology, vol. 81, pp. 333-347, 2018.