Flapping wings continuously create and send vortices into their wake, while imparting downward momentum into the surrounding fluid. However, experimental studies concerning the details of the three-dimensional vorticity distribution and evolution in the far wake are limited. In this study, the three-dimensional vortex wake structure in both the near and far field of a dynamically scaled flapping wing was investigated experimentally, using volumetric three-component velocimetry. A single wing, with shape and kinematics similar to those of a fruitfly, was examined. The overall result of the wing action is to create an integrated vortex structure consisting of a tip vortex (TV), trailing-edge shear layer (TESL) and leading-edge vortex. The TESL rolls up into a root vortex (RV) as it is shed from the wing, and together with the TV, contracts radially and stretches tangentially in the downstream wake. The downwash is distributed in an arc-shaped region enclosed by the stretched tangential vorticity of the TVs and the RVs. A closed vortex ring structure is not observed in the current study owing to the lack of well-established starting and stopping vortex structures that smoothly connect the TV and RV. An evaluation of the vorticity transport equation shows that both the TV and the RV undergo vortex stretching while convecting downwards: a three-dimensional phenomenon in rotating flows. It also confirms that convection and secondary tilting and stretching effects dominate the evolution of vorticity.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biomedical Engineering