Phase dynamics of freely swimming foils
von Ellenrieder KD
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A two-dimensional D-shaped cylinder and heaving foil were mounted in tandem and used to simulate the main body and tail, respectively, of a natural swimmer. Thrust/drag measurements of the force on the foil and particle image velocimetry measurements of the flow downstream of the swimming system were conducted at a Reynolds number of about 104 in a water channel with a constant free stream current speed. Two main sets of measurements were conducted: one set with the swimming system locked at a fixed streamwise location in the water channel as the heave frequency of the foil was varied; the other set with the system freely swimming to a desired set-point position from different upstream and downstream locations. When the freely swimming system reached and maintained its set-point position, so that its swimming speed matched that of the current, the oscillation frequency of the heaving foil corresponded to a Strouhal number of 0.36. Phase portraits of the measured thrust/drag forces reveal limit cycle oscillations for all swimming cases studied, which suggests that self-regulation drives the selection of this Strouhal number. No coupling was observed between the vortices shed by the D-shaped cylinder and the self-selected frequency of the heaving foil during free swimming. An examination of the ratio of the phase-locking indices for the input heaving motion of the foil and the coupled fluidic thrust/drag response reveals that it approaches a value of 0.5 over time when the freely swimming system is released from rest and allowed to achieve steady-state cruising. The jet produced by the freely swimming foil was inclined at an angle of approximately 4 degrees with respect to the direction of the mean flow.