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An Investigation into the Hydrodynamic Performance of Flexible Oscillating Foils

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Maryam HaroutunianORCiD


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Oscillating foils have been the subject of various investigation to assess their hydrodynamic performance as a bioinspired alternative to conventional propellers. Previous research works have studied oscillating foil propulsion, and have found that a foil oscillating in both heave and pitch has the potential to be more efficient than conventional propulsors, with propulsive efficiencies of around 87% being registered by Anderson et al. (1998) [1]. This, combined with the ability to create strong lateral forces, would considerably aid manoeuvring as explored by Read et al. (2002) [2] and would make as an ideal propulsor for both Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROV) and ships. The purpose of the current research is to compliment previous research works in the field by investigating the effect of shape, size, speed and flexibility of foils in pure pitching motion, on their hydrodynamic performance. In addition, a mathematical model based on Section Element Momentum Theory is under development to further investigate the effects of various variables on the foil’s performance for future optimisation. The current validation of the mathematical model proposed in this investigation shows good agreement with experimental results when applied to simpler shaped foils. The results of the investigation show that foil shapes with higher area distributions towards the tip of the foil produced more thrust per meter squared ( 𝑇/𝑚2 ) than shapes with higher area distributions closer to the root of the foil. In addition, the results from the mathematical model suggest that flexible foils are capable of producing more thrust than rigid ones of the same size and shape, although this is yet to be verified experimentally.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Land EMH, Haroutunian M

Publication type: Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)

Publication status: Published

Conference Name: The Sixth International Conference on Advanced Model Measurement Technology for The Maritime Industry (AMT'19)

Year of Conference: 2019

Online publication date: 09/10/2019

Acceptance date: 31/07/2019

Date deposited: 15/10/2019