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We examine the dynamics of the leading-edge vortex (LEV) on a rapidly pitching plate with the aim of elucidating the underlying flow physics that dictates the stability and circulation of the LEV. A wide variety of flow conditions is considered in the present study by systematically varying the leading-edge sweep angle (
) and the reduced frequency (
), while keeping the pitching amplitude and the Reynolds number fixed. Tomographic particle image velocimetry is used to characterise the three-dimensional fluid motion inside the vortex core and its relation to the LEV stability and growth. A series of control volume analyses are performed to quantify the relative importance of the vorticity transport phenomena taking place inside the LEV to the overall vortex development. We show that, near the wing apex where tip effects can be neglected, the vortex develops in a nominally two-dimensional manner, despite the presence of inherently three-dimensional vortex dynamics such as vortex stretching and compression. Furthermore, we demonstrate that the vortex formation time and circulation growth are well-described by the principles of optimal vortex formation number, and that the occurrence of vortex shedding is dictated by the relative energetics of the feeding shear layer and the resulting vortex.
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.
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