The flight of many birds and bats, and their robotic counterparts, occurs over a range of chord-based Reynolds numbers from 1 × 104 to 1.5 × 105. It is precisely over this range where the aerodynamics of simple, rigid, fixed wings becomes extraordinarily sensitive to small changes in geometry and the environment, with two sets of consequences. The first is that practical lifting devices at this scale will likely not be simple, rigid, fixed wings. The second is that it becomes non-trivial to make baseline comparisons for experiment and computation, when either one can be wrong. Here we examine one ostensibly simple case of the NACA 0012 aerofoil and make careful comparison between the technical literature, and new experiments and computations. The agreement (or lack thereof) will establish one or more baseline results and some sensitivities around them. The idea is that the diagnostic procedures will help to guide comparisons and predictions in subsequent more complex cases.
One contribution of 19 to a theme issue ‘Coevolving advances in animal flight and aerial robotics’.
- © 2016 The Author(s)
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