Résumé of the AIAA FDTC Low Reynolds Number Discussion Group's Canonical Cases

Document Type

Conference Paper

Publication Date


Publication Source

48th AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting Including the New Horizons Forum and Aerospace Exposition


The AIAA Fluid Dynamics Technical Committee's Low Reynolds Number Discussion Group has introduced several "canonical" pitch motions, with objectives of (1) experimental-numerical comparison, (2) assessment of closed-form models for aerodynamic force coefficient time history, and (3) exploration of the vast and rather amorphous parameter space of the possible kinematics. The baseline geometry is a flat plate of nominally 2.5% thickness and round edges, wall-to-wall in ground test facilities and spanwise-periodic or 2D in computations. Motions are various smoothings of a linear pitch ramp, hold and return, of 40o and 45o amplitude. In an attempt to discern acceleration effects, sinusoidal and linear-ramp motions are compared, where the latter have short runs of high acceleration and thus high noncirculatory lift and pitch. Parameter variations include comparison of the flat plate with an airfoil and ellipse, variation of reduced frequency, pitch pivot point location and comparison of pitch to quasi-steady equivalent plunge. All motions involve strong leading edge vortices, whose growth history depends on pitch pivot point location and reduced frequency, and which can persist over the model suction-side for well after motion completion.

Noncirculatory loads were indeed found to be localized to phases of motion where acceleration was large. To the extent discernable so far, closed-form models of lift coefficient on the pitch upstroke are relatively straightforward, but not so on the downstroke, where motion history effects complicate the return from stall. Broad Reynolds number independency, in flowfield evolution and lift coefficient, was found in the 103 to 104 range.




Permission documentation is on file.


American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics

Place of Publication

Orlando, FL