INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF MICRO AIR VEHICLES, vol.3, no.4, pp.217-227, 2011 (SCI-Expanded)
The work explores the use of time-resolved tomographic PIV measurements to study a flapping-wing model, the related vortex generation mechanisms and the effect of wing flexibility on the clap-and-fling movement in particular. An experimental setup is designed and realized in a water tank by use of a single wing model and a mirror plate to simulate the wing interaction that is involved in clap-and-fling motion. The wing model used in the experiments has the same planform with the DelFly II wings and consists of a rigid leading edge and an isotropic polyester film. The thickness of the polyester film was changed in order to investigate the influence of flexibility. A similarity analysis based on the two-dimensional dynamic beam equation was performed to compare aeroelastic characteristics of flapping-wing motion in-air and in-water conditions. Based on the experimental results, the evolution of vortical structures during the clap-and-peel motion is explained. The general effects of flexibility on vortex formations and interactions are discussed. It was observed that the flexibility affects the behavior and orientation of the vortices in relation to the deformation of the wing and interaction with the mirror plate.