Comparison of Aerodynamic Forces and Moments Calculated by Three-dimensional Unsteady Blade Element Theory and Computational Fluid Dynamics
In previous work, we modified blade element theory by implementing three-dimensional wing kinematics and modeled the unsteady aerodynamic effects by adding the added mass and rotational forces. This method is referred to as Unsteady Blade Element Theory (UBET). A comparison between UBET and Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) for flapping wings with high flapping frequencies (>30 Hz) could not be found in literature survey. In this paper, UBET that considers the movement of pressure center in pitching-moment estimation was validated using the CFD method. We investigated three three-dimensional (3D) wing kinematics that produce negative, zero, and positive aerodynamic pitching moments. For all cases, the instantaneous aerodynamic forces and pitching moments estimated via UBET and CFD showed similar trends. The differences in average vertical forces and pitching moments about the center of gravity were about 10% and 12%, respectively. Therefore, UBET is proven to reasonably estimate the aerodynamic forces and pitching moment for flight dynamic study of FW-MAV. However, the differences in average wing drags and pitching moments about the feather axis were more than 20%. Since study of aerodynamic power requires reasonable estimation of wing drag and pitching moment about the feather axis, UBET needs further improvement for higher accuracy.
Keywordsblade element theory unsteady computational fluid dynamics flapping wings biomimetic
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