Journal of Fluid Mechanics

Lunate-tail swimming propulsion as a problem of curved lifting line in unsteady flow. Part 1. Asymptotic theory

H. K.  Cheng a1 and Luis E.  Murillo a1p1
a1 Department of Aerospace Engineering, University of Southern California, Los Angeles

Article author query
cheng hk   [Google Scholar] 
murillo le   [Google Scholar] 


The asymptotic theory of a high-aspect-ratio wing in an incompressible flow is generalized to an oscillating lifting surface with a curved centreline in the domain where the reduced frequency based on the half-span is of order unity. The formulation allows applications to lightly loaded models of lunate-tail swimming and ornithopter flight, provided that the heaving displacement does not far exceed the mean wing chord. The analysis include the quasi-steady limit, in which the crescent-moon wing problem considered earlier by Thurber (1965) is solved and several aerodynamic properties of swept wings are explained.

Among the important three-dimensional and unsteady effects are corrections for the centreline curvature and for the spanwise components of the locally shed vortices. Comparison of the lift distributions obtained for model lunate tails with data computed from the doublet-lattice method (Albano & Rodden 1969) lends support to the asymptotic theory.

(Published Online April 20 2006)
(Received January 3 1983)
(Revised August 2 1983)

p1 Present address: Boeing Commercial Airplane Co., Seattle, Washington 98124.