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J. H. J. Buchholz and A. J. Smits
Princeton University

A rigid plate of aspect ratio S/C=0.54 (S=span, C=chord) is pitched in a uniform flow about its leading edge. The double-amplitude to span ratio is A/S=0.31. The leading edge is hinged to the trailing edge of a stationary symmetric 2-D airfoil. Fluorescent dyes are introduced through a series of holes on each side of the airfoil support. The Reynolds number based on the chord of the plate and the freestream velocity U is 640. Different flow regimes can be identified based on the Strouhal number, St=fA/U (f=pitching frequency). Twice in each flapping cycle, a horseshoe vortex is created, consisting of vorticity shed by the top, bottom, and trailing edges. At St=0.23 (this image, top and side views) the legs of each vortex loop are entrained by the tip of the subsequent loop forming a chain-like structure.

Studying such wakes is believed to be important for understanding the mechanisms of thrust production in fish-like swimming. See also St = 0.43 and St = 0.64.

Buchholz, J. H. J. and Smits, A. J., "On the evolution of the wake structure produced by a low aspect-ratio pitching panel." Journal of Fluid Mechanics, 546, pp. 433-443, 2006.

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