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A Vortex Plate Theory of Hovering Animal Flight

Authors: Khaled. M. Faqih


A model of vortex wake is suggested to determine the induced power during animal hovering flight. The wake is modeled by a series of equi-spaced rigid rectangular vortex plates, positioned horizontally and moving vertically downwards with identical speeds; each plate is generated during powering of the functionally wing stroke. The vortex representation of the wake considered in the current theory allows a considerable loss of momentum to occur. The current approach accords well with the nature of the wingbeat since it considers the unsteadiness in the wake as an important fluid dynamical characteristic. Induced power in hovering is calculated as the aerodynamic power required to generate the vortex wake system. Specific mean induced power to mean wing tip velocity ratio is determined by solely the normal spacing parameter (f) for a given wing stroke amplitude. The current theory gives much higher specific induced power estimate than anticipated by classical methods.

Keywords: vortex theory, hovering flight, induced power, Prandlt's tip theory.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI):

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