Low Reynolds Number Effect on Energy Extraction Performance of Semi-Passive Flapping Foil


1 College of Aeronautical Engineering, National University of Sciences and Technology, Pakistan

2 aComputational Engineering and Design Group, Faculty of Engineering and Environment, University of Faculty of Engineering and Environment, University of Southampton, UK

3 Fluid Structure Interaction Group, Faculty of Engineering and Environment, University of SouthamptoFaculty of Engineering and Environment, University of Southampton, UK


In this paper, 2-D numerical solution scheme is used to study the performance of semi-passive flapping foil flow energy harvester at Reynolds numbers ranging from 5000 to 50,000. The energy harvester comprises of NACA0015 airfoil which is supported on a translational spring and damper. An external sinosoidal pitch excitation is provided to the airfoil. Energy is extracted from the flow induced vibration of airfoil in translational mode. Movement of airfoil is accommodated in fluid domain by using a hybrid meshfree-Cartesian fluid grid. A body conformal meshfree nodal cloud forms the near field domain, encompassing the airfoil. During the simulation, the solid boundary causes the motion of the meshfree nodal cloud, without necessitating re-meshing. In the far field, the static Cartesian grid encloses and partly overlaps the meshfree nodal cloud. A coupled mesh based and meshfree solution scheme is utilized to solve laminar flow, viscous, incompressible equations, in Arbitrary-Lagrangian-Eulerian (ALE) formulation, over a hybrid grid. Spatial discretization of flow equations is carried out using radial basis function in finite difference mode (RBF-FD) over meshfree nodes and conventional finite differencing over Cartesian grid. Stabilized flow momentum equations are used to avoid spurious fluctuations at high Reynolds numbers. A closely coupled, partitioned, sub iteration method is used for fluid structure interaction. The study is focused to analyse the behaviour of flow energy harvesters at various Reynolds numbers. Effects of changing the translational spring stiffness and pitch activation frequency are also investigated. Instantaneous flow structures around the airfoil have been compared at different Reynolds numbers and pitch amplitudes. It is found that net power extracted by the system increases at high Reynolds numbers. Moreover, re-attachment of leading edge separation vortex plays an important role in ther overall system performance.