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Optimization of a Low Reynolds Number Airfoil with Flexible Membrane

Ori Levin, Wei Shyy1

Department of Aerospace Engineering, Mechanics and Engineering Science, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611, U.S.A.

Computer Modeling in Engineering & Sciences 2001, 2(4), 523-536.


Typical low Reynolds number airfoils suffer from reduced lift-to-drag ratio and are prone to flow separation. In order to improve the aerodynamic performance of such airfoils in an unsteady freestream, the concept of passive control is investigated. In this study, a membrane with varying thickness distribution and mechanical properties is attached on the upper surface of a modified Clark-Y airfoil and is free to move upwards and downwards in response to the pressure difference across it. The response surface method is employed to investigate the individual and collective effects of the membrane's prestress, elastic modulus, and thickness distribution on aerodynamic characteristics, as well as to optimize the performance of the airfoil. It is demonstrated that the aerodynamic performance of the airfoil can be improved with such a passive control approach based on the optimized design variables.

Cite This Article

Levin,, O. (2001). Optimization of a Low Reynolds Number Airfoil with Flexible Membrane. CMES-Computer Modeling in Engineering & Sciences, 2(4), 523–536.

cc This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License , which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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