Gust mitigation with an oscillating airfoil at low Reynolds number





Citation of Original Publication

Poudel, Naresh; Yu, Meilin; Hrynuk, John T.; Gust mitigation with an oscillating airfoil at low Reynolds number; Physics of Fluids 33, 101905, 19 October, 2021;


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The encounter between micro-aerial vehicles (MAVs) and gusts is often detrimental and mitigating the effects of the gust is important for operating MAVs under severe environmental conditions. This study investigates the impact of vertical gusts on stationary and oscillating NACA0012 (National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics) airfoils at low Reynolds numbers using high-order computational fluid dynamics methods, and identifies key dynamics that dominate gust mitigation. The interaction of the gusts with the stationary airfoil generates large unsteady forces, which exceed the peak static lift coefficient. A simple pitch-down maneuver and oscillating airfoil motion were tested as methods for mitigating the effects of the gusts. A rapid and significant pitch-down maneuver is observed to inadvertently cause a stall event by exceeding the negative stall angle. A stepwise change in the angle of attack (AoA), as the gust develops, is shown to be more effective at mitigating the gust effect. However, this gust mitigation strategy is still not effective if the gust continues to grow in magnitude. Low amplitude wing oscillations were then tested as a novel method for gust mitigation. Increasing the reduced frequency of the oscillating airfoil is shown to dominate the gust and results in a predictable oscillatory lift and drag/thrust behavior. Results also show that this effect is relatively insensitive to variations in the Strouhal number. These results suggest there may be gust mitigation strategies leveraging oscillating wing behaviors on MAVs.