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Vortex formation and shedding from a cyber-physical pitching plate

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  14 March 2016

Kyohei Onoue
School of Engineering, Brown University, Providence, RI 02912, USA
Kenneth S. Breuer
School of Engineering, Brown University, Providence, RI 02912, USA
E-mail address:


We report on the dynamics of the formation and growth of the leading-edge vortex and the corresponding unsteady aerodynamic torque induced by large-scale flow-induced oscillations of an elastically mounted flat plate. All experiments are performed using a high-bandwidth cyber-physical system, which enables the user to access a wide range of structural dynamics using a feedback control system. A series of two-dimensional particle image velocimetry measurements are carried out to characterize the behaviour of the separated flow structures and its relation to the plate kinematics and unsteady aerodynamic torque generation. By modulating the structural properties of the cyber-physical system, we systematically analyse the formation, strength and separation of the leading-edge vortex, and the dependence on kinematic parameters. We demonstrate that the leading-edge vortex growth and strength scale with the characteristic feeding shear-layer velocity and that a potential flow model using the measured vortex circulation and position can, when coupled with the steady moment of the flat plate, accurately predict the net aerodynamic torque on the plate. Connections to previous results on optimal vortex formation time are also discussed.

© 2016 Cambridge University Press 

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