# Planar vibrating airfoil..could this idea work?

by Frank Kecskes
Tags: airfoilcould, planar, vibrating, work
P: 4,778
 Quote by Frank Kecskes Cyrus: So, if I take a flat sheet of paper and lay it o the table, and blow a jet of air across the top of it, it rises up. There is no leading edge geometry here, yet the pressure drop according to Bernoulli's Principle still applies...Correct?
Yes. In the case of your paper, you are supplying a jet of air. By doing so, the static pressure of that 'streamline' of air must be lower (due to Bernoulli). The paper then feels the low pressure of air flowing over top of it, and rises accordingly. In an airfoil, it does not work the same way because you are not supplying a jet of air. The airfoil is moving through the air and reducing the pressure* due to it's shape.

Well, keep in mind that Bernoulli's equation is valid along a streamline for steady flow and we assume viscous effects are negligible. None of this is true if you have a flapping airfoil, so it is incorrect to try and apply this equation to your oscillating airfoil.

*In the first 1/3, the airfoil reduces the pressure. But on the last 2/3rds it increases the pressure back to static at the trailing edge.
 P: 13 Cyrus: Slightly changing the subject, what if I told you there is a way to electrostatically move the air across an airfoil (in one direction) by sequentially electrifying adjacent segments on the surface of an airfoil to approximate the airflow as in a conventionally used wing. And what if I told you that the laminar flow of such electrostaically moving air molecules could be made to be in a layer so thin that the energy required to move them in this fashion would be orders of magnitude less than what a prop or turbine or jet engine currently uses to move an aircraft through the air. Would that indeed be a technology worth while?
P: 4,778
 Quote by Frank Kecskes Cyrus: Slightly changing the subject, what if I told you there is a way to electrostatically move the air across an airfoil (in one direction) by sequentially electrifying adjacent segments on the surface of an airfoil to approximate the airflow as in a conventionally used wing. And what if I told you that the laminar flow of such electrostaically moving air molecules could be made to be in a layer so thin that the energy required to move them in this fashion would be orders of magnitude less than what a prop or turbine or jet engine currently uses to move an aircraft through the air. Would that indeed be a technology worth while?
Interesting. I don't know, I'm skeptical if you could get such a thing to produce sufficient velocity to make any useful amount of lift. Are you saying this as a 'hypothetical' or have you actually made and tried this? It should be easy enough to test, all you need is a section of an airfoil attached to a bathroom scale. If it makes thrust, you'll know how much.
P: 4,513
 Quote by Cyrus See the references on my website. It has been well established that there is a leading edge vortex in flapping flight.
Of course there is. However, your response and website are completely nonsequitar to vortex generation. I suppose your focus is divided.
 P: 13 Cyrus: The sequential charging and discharging of adjacent strip electrode elements spanning the surface of an air foil is only limited by the controlling circuit. That being said, you could cause air molecules to be moved over the surface at whatever speed you chose. Then, by using a frequency of the appropriate value, any portion of the craft outfitted with such electrodes could become a lifting / pushing surface. You could for instance use this concept to provide enough lift and "push" to move an aircraft in any direction. A car outfitted with such an airfoil oriented as a front and rear bumper with sufficient surface area, could literally both move the car forward and also provide the braking action...all with the same principle and nothing to wear out except the generator or battery system providing the power for the electrification of the electrode segments on the airfoil....
P: 4,778
 Quote by Phrak Of course there is. However, your response and website are completely nonsequitar to vortex generation. I suppose your focus is divided.
I think I misread your post originally, my apologies. I'm not sure what about my response is not satisfying to you, because we are both saying the same thing (at least, I think we are).
P: 4,513
 Quote by Cyrus I think I misread your post originally, my apologies. I'm not sure what about my response is not satisfying to you, because we are both saying the same thing (at least, I think we are).
We're both saying a simple to-and-fro motion won't work. You seem to be saying the trajectory and orientation of the lifting surface need to be properly done. I'm saying that it really doesn't matter.

Have you seen flow fields of nonviscous fluids over an airfoil shape? Begin with a two dimensional irrotational flow field around a circle. Conformally transform the circle to an airfoil shape. The field is still irrotational. Without the rotational component, there is no redirection of fluid velocity and no lift. This is the state of affairs for a perfect inviscous fluid.

Now take a viscous fluid in uniform motion, such as an airsteam first beginning to pass over an airfoil, it's rotation is everywhere zero. It's the stickiness of the air against foil surfaces and into the fluid volume that's required to change the angular momentum of the fluid in the region of the foil required to obtain lift. Once this is established, it will persist around the foil (hopefully, or stall results upon vortex shedding).

So it takes some time and friction between fluid and foil to get this process developed. If you move your foil back and forth, to get lift you have to establish first left handed then righthanded vorticity with each stroke.

This will not happen over a couple cord lengths or less, and the reversal of the stroke will first have to act to reverse the previous circulation. There's all this viscous action going on, half the time reversing what's already there.

I'd imagine that half the time, the foil could be being forced downward instead of up when it's out of phase. I dunno. I'm just guessing about this one. It only just occured to me.
P: 4,778
 Quote by Phrak We're both saying a simple to-and-fro motion won't work. You seem to be saying the trajectory and orientation of the lifting surface need to be properly done. I'm saying that it really doesn't matter.
But it does. The kinematics at the upstroke and down-stroke of insect flight highly depends on this kinematics, hence why I referenced those papers on my website. You will find that there are force peaks that you do not get using quasi-steady approximations.

 Have you seen flow fields of nonviscous fluids over an airfoil shape? Begin with a two dimensional irrotational flow field around a circle. Conformally transform the circle to an airfoil shape. The field is still irrotational. Without the rotational component, there is no redirection of fluid velocity and no lift. This is the state of affairs for a perfect inviscous fluid.
Correct.

 Now take a viscous fluid in uniform motion, such as an airsteam first beginning to pass over an airfoil, it's rotation is everywhere zero. It's the stickiness of the air against foil surfaces and into the fluid volume that's required to change the angular momentum of the fluid in the region of the foil required to obtain lift. Once this is established, it will persist around the foil (hopefully, or stall results upon vortex shedding).
Also correct, i.e., the boundary layer.

 So it takes some time and friction between fluid and foil to get this process developed. If you move your foil back and forth, to get lift you have to establish first left handed then righthanded vorticity with each stroke.
Sure.

 This will not happen over a couple cord lengths or less, and the reversal of the stroke will first have to act to reverse the previous circulation. There's all this viscous action going on, half the time reversing what's already there.
Well, that's why insects have pronation and supination kinematics, so they can use what is known as 'wake capture.' (again, see references for that if you want more detail).

 I'd imagine that half the time, the foil could be being forced downward instead of up when it's out of phase. I dunno. I'm just guessing about this one. It only just occured to me.
I'm not sure what you mean here.

Overall, nice post though .
 P: 4,513 Ok, so I've been preaching to the choir. It happens. Without establishing or discovering common ground we'd be talking in circles. Pronation and supination is simple enough. I'll look over wake capture...when I can.
P: 349
 Quote by Frank Kecskes Cyrus: Slightly changing the subject, what if I told you there is a way to electrostatically move the air across an airfoil (in one direction) by sequentially electrifying adjacent segments on the surface of an airfoil to approximate the airflow as in a conventionally used wing. And what if I told you that the laminar flow of such electrostaically moving air molecules could be made to be in a layer so thin that the energy required to move them in this fashion would be orders of magnitude less than what a prop or turbine or jet engine currently uses to move an aircraft through the air. Would that indeed be a technology worth while?
I think if you were to electrify segments of the surface of an airfoil or any surface the air is not going to move in one direction parallel to the surface. Wouldn't the air move away from the electrified segment in all directions? I think I saw an episode of the mythbusters where they purchased some things on the internet that us an electric field to move the air downwards and produce thrust.
 P: 13 Cyrus: each flat, electrode strip would go from the root of the wing to to the tip of the wing. Each wing would have several such electrodes parallel to one another. The sequence and polarity of energization would be as follows: 1. The leading edge elctrode is initially energized POSITIVE causing the first batch of air molecules in it's vicinity to become positively charged. 2. The adjacent elctrode is then negatively energized and attracts the positively charged air molecules. This electrode is then temporarily de-energized and the momentum of the air molecules in the first batch carry them past the second electrode. 3. The second electrode is then positively energized, "pushing" this first batch further toward the trailing edge. 4. The process continues until the first batch of air molecules (through successive electrostatic "push-pull" sequences) pass over the airfoil via the remaining elctrode strips all the way to the trailing edge of the wing. Another way to look at it is as follows: An electric motor uses timed energization and denergization of electromagnets to "push-pull" the tangential edge of a rotor around and around. A linear motor or rail gun does the same, but in a linear, straight line form of motion. So, the elctrostatic airfoil does the same thing with batches of air molecules being "push-pulled" in one direction, over the surface of an airfoil, by electrostatic means. Given the correct electrostatic potential, sequence and frequency of energization and de-energization of electrode segments, a laminar flow of air can be made to move across an airfoil at any desired speed.
P: 349
 Quote by Frank Kecskes Cyrus: each flat, electrode strip would go from the root of the wing to to the tip of the wing. Each wing would have several such electrodes parallel to one another. The sequence and polarity of energization would be as follows: 1. The leading edge elctrode is initially energized POSITIVE causing the first batch of air molecules in it's vicinity to become positively charged. 2. The adjacent elctrode is then negatively energized and attracts the positively charged air molecules. This electrode is then temporarily de-energized and the momentum of the air molecules in the first batch carry them past the second electrode. 3. The second electrode is then positively energized, "pushing" this first batch further toward the trailing edge. 4. The process continues until the first batch of air molecules (through successive electrostatic "push-pull" sequences) pass over the airfoil via the remaining elctrode strips all the way to the trailing edge of the wing. Another way to look at it is as follows: An electric motor uses timed energization and denergization of electromagnets to "push-pull" the tangential edge of a rotor around and around. A linear motor or rail gun does the same, but in a linear, straight line form of motion. So, the elctrostatic airfoil does the same thing with batches of air molecules being "push-pulled" in one direction, over the surface of an airfoil, by electrostatic means. Given the correct electrostatic potential, sequence and frequency of energization and de-energization of electrode segments, a laminar flow of air can be made to move across an airfoil at any desired speed.
I do not know much about ionizing air with an electric field but I think the resulting airflow would be actually be turbulent and unsteady. Once the polarity of an electrode is switched to begin pushing the molecules it will not only push them parallel to the surface, it will also push some molecules upwards away from the surface. At the same time the electrodes attracting any molecules will also be pulling them downwards towards the surface. Once an electrode is turned off to allow the air's momentum to carry it past the electrode the air will begin to slow down and due to the shear layer it would roll up and become turbulent.

But at the same time I have seen electrodes being used as a flow control device to improve the flow over a turbine blade. Although it was only being used to energize the boundary layer and delay separation. You could always build this thing and find out. It doesn't sound like it would be to difficult.
 Mentor P: 21,648 Regarding the OP's idea: rather than having the wings oscillate back and forth, why not just attach them to a central pivot point and rotate them around in a circle...?

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