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research-article

A relationship between sweep angle of oscillatory pectoral fins and thrust generation

[+] Author and Article Information
Soheil Arastehfar

School of Engineering, Deakin University, Waurn Ponds, VIC 3216, Australia; Department of Mechanical Engineering, National University of Singapore, Singapore, 117575
soheil.arastehfar@deakin.edu.au

Chee-Meng Chew

Department of Mechanical Engineering, National University of Singapore, Singapore, 117575
chewcm@nus.edu.sg

Athena Jalalian

Department of Mechanical Engineering, National University of Singapore, Singapore, 117575
athena@nus.edu.sg

Gunawan Gunawan

Department of Mechanical Engineering, National University of Singapore, Singapore, 117575
mpegu@nus.edu.sg

K S Yeo

Department of Mechanical Engineering, National University of Singapore, Singapore, 117575
mpeyeoks@nus.edu.sg

1Corresponding author.

ASME doi:10.1115/1.4041697 History: Received April 25, 2018; Revised October 04, 2018

Abstract

Propulsive capability of manta rays' flapping pectoral fins has inspired many to incorporate these fins as propulsive mechanisms for autonomous underwater vehicles. In particular, geometrical factors such as sweep angle have been postulated as being influential to these fins' propulsive capability, specifically their thrust generation. Although effects of sweep angle on static/flapping wings of aircrafts/drones have been widely studied, little has been done for underwater conditions. Furthermore, the findings from air studies may not be relatable to underwater studies on pectoral fins because of the different Reynolds number (compared to flapping wings) and force generation mechanism (compared to static wings). This paper aims to establish a relationship between sweep angle and thrust generation. An experiment was conducted to measure the thrust generated by 40 fins in a water channel under free stream and still water conditions for chord Reynolds number between 2.2E+04 and 8.2E+04. The fins were of five different sweep angles (0, 10, 20, 30, 40 degrees) that were incorporated into eight base designs of different flexibility characteristics. The results showed that sweep angle (within the range considered) may have no significant influence on these fins' thrust generation, implying no significant effects on thrust under uniform flow condition and on the maximum possible thrust under still water. Overall, it can be concluded that sweep angle may not be a determinant of thrust generation for flapping pectoral fins. This knowledge can ease the decision-making process of design of robots propelled by these fins.

Copyright (c) 2018 by ASME
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