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. 2018 Jul 3;13(5):056002.
doi: 10.1088/1748-3190/aacb43.

Aerodynamic Robustness in Owl-Inspired Leading-Edge Serrations: A Computational Wind-Gust Model

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Aerodynamic Robustness in Owl-Inspired Leading-Edge Serrations: A Computational Wind-Gust Model

Chen Rao et al. Bioinspir Biomim. .

Abstract

Owls are a master to achieve silent flight in gliding and flapping flights under natural turbulent environments owing to their unique wing morphologies. While the leading-edge serrations are recently revealed, as a passive flow control micro-device, to play a crucial role in aerodynamic force production and sound suppression (Rao et al 2017 Bioinspiration Biomim. 12 1-13), the characteristics of wind-gust rejection associated with leading-edge serrations remain unclear. Here we address a large-eddy simulation-based study of aerodynamic robustness in owl-inspired leading-edge serrations, which is conducted with clean and serrated wing models through mimicking wind-gusts under a longitudinal fluctuation in free-stream inflow and a lateral fluctuation in pitch angle over a broad range of angles of attack (AoAs) over 0° ⩽ Φ ⩽ 20°. Our results show that the leading-edge serration-based passive flow control mechanisms associated with laminar-turbulent transition work effectively under fluctuated inflow and wing pitch, indicating that the leading-edge serrations are of potential gust fluctuation rejection or robustness in aerodynamic performance. Moreover, it is revealed that the tradeoff between turbulent flow control (i.e. aero-acoustic suppression) and force production in the serrated model holds independently to the wind-gust environments: poor at lower AoAs but capable of achieving equivalent aerodynamic performance at higher AoAs >15° compared to the clean model. Our results reveal that the owl-inspired leading-edge serrations can be a robust micro-device for aero-acoustic control coping with unsteady and complex wind environments in biomimetic rotor designs for various fluid machineries.

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