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On the Dynamics of Flat Plates in a Fluid Environment: A Study of Inverted Flag Flapping and Caudal Fin Maneuvering

Citation

Huertas-Cerdeira, Cecilia (2019) On the Dynamics of Flat Plates in a Fluid Environment: A Study of Inverted Flag Flapping and Caudal Fin Maneuvering. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/326X-M576. https://resolver.caltech.edu/CaltechTHESIS:06072019-103225366

Abstract

Despite serving analogous functions, the mechanical designs conceived by human engineering and those that result from natural evolution often possess fundamentally differing properties. This thesis explores the use of principles that stem from natural evolution to improve the performance of engineered mechanisms, focusing on systems whose role is to interact with a fluid environment. Two different principles are considered: the use of compliance, abundant in nature's structures, and the use of flapping propulsion, prevalent among nature's swimmers.

The first part of this thesis is dedicated to investigating the physics that govern the behavior of an inverted-flag energy harvester; an unactuated flexible cantilever plate that is clamped at its trailing edge and submerged in a flow. The resonance between solid motion and fluid forcing generates large-amplitude unsteady deformations of the structure that may be used for energy harvesting purposes. The effect of the flag's aspect ratio on its stability is first evaluated. Flags of very small aspect ratio are demonstrated to undergo a saddle-node bifurcation instead of a divergence instability. The angle of attack of the flag is then modified to reveal the existence of dynamical regimes additional to those present at zero angle of attack. A side-by-side flag configuration is finally explored, highlighting the presence of an energetically favorable symmetric flapping mode among other coupled dynamics.

The second part of this thesis delves into the analysis of underwater flapping propellers and the optimization of their three-dimensional motion to generate desired maneuvering forces, with the objective of obtaining an appendage for use in autonomous underwater vehicles that can perform both fast maneuvering and efficient propulsion. An experimental optimization procedure is employed to obtain the most efficient trajectory that generates a specified side force. The effect of increasing the fin's aspect ratio is examined, and a highly efficient trajectory, that makes use of high three-dimensionality and rotation angles, is obtained for a fin of AR=4. The use of a flexible fin is then analyzed and shown to be detrimental to the maneuvering efficiency of the system.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:Solid-Fluid Interactions, Flapping Propulsion, Energy Harvesting, Bio-inspired Design, Fluid Dynamics
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Engineering and Applied Science
Major Option:Aeronautics
Awards:William F. Ballhaus Prize, 2019. Charles D. Babcock Award, 2018.
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Gharib, Morteza
Group:GALCIT
Thesis Committee:
  • McKeon, Beverley J. (chair)
  • Gharib, Morteza
  • Pullin, Dale Ian
  • Colonius, Timothy E.
Defense Date:31 May 2019
Funders:
Funding AgencyGrant Number
La Caixa Fellowship Grant for Post-graduate StudiesUNSPECIFIED
Moore FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Center for Autonomous Systems and Technologies at CaltechUNSPECIFIED
National Science FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:06072019-103225366
Persistent URL:https://resolver.caltech.edu/CaltechTHESIS:06072019-103225366
DOI:10.7907/326X-M576
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
https://doi.org/10.1017/jfm.2016.691DOIArticle adapted for Chapter 2
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jfluidstructs.2017.11.005DOIArticle adapted for Chapter 4
ORCID:
AuthorORCID
Huertas-Cerdeira, Cecilia0000-0003-4553-0470
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:11707
Collection:CaltechTHESIS
Deposited By: Cecilia Huertas Cerdeira
Deposited On:10 Jun 2019 22:57
Last Modified:04 Oct 2019 00:26

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