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Aerospace 2016, 3(3), 24; doi:10.3390/aerospace3030024

Comparison of the Average Lift Coefficient ͞CL and Normalized Lift ͞ηL for Evaluating Hovering and Forward Flapping Flight

School of Arts and Sciences, Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, San Diego, CA 92123, USA
Academic Editor: Sutthiphong Srigrarom
Received: 3 June 2016 / Revised: 19 July 2016 / Accepted: 19 July 2016 / Published: 29 July 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Flapping Wings)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [1145 KB, uploaded 29 July 2016]   |  

Abstract

The capability of flapping wings to generate lift is currently evaluated by using the lift coefficient C ¯ L , a dimensionless number that is derived from the basal equation that calculates the steady-state lift coefficient CL for fixed wings. In contrast to its simple and direct application to fixed wings, the equation for C ¯ L requires prior knowledge of the flow field along the wing span, which results in two integrations: along the wing span and over time. This paper proposes an alternate average normalized lift η ¯ L that is easy to apply to hovering and forward flapping flight, does not require prior knowledge of the flow field, does not resort to calculus for its solution, and its lineage is close to the basal equation for steady state CL. Furthermore, the average normalized lift η ¯ L converges to the legacy CL as the flapping frequency is reduced to zero (gliding flight). Its ease of use is illustrated by applying the average normalized lift η ¯ L to the hovering and translating flapping flight of bumblebees. This application of the normalized lift is compared to the same application using two widely-accepted legacy average lift coefficients: the first C ¯ L as defined by Dudley and Ellington, and the second lift coefficient by Weis-Fogh. Furthermore, it is shown that the average normalized lift η ¯ L has a physical meaning: that of the ratio of work exerted by the flapping wings onto the surrounding flow field and the kinetic energy available at the aerodynamic surfaces during the generation of lift. The working equation for the average normalized lift η ¯ L is derived and is presented as a function of Strouhal number, St. View Full-Text
Keywords: lift coefficient; normalized lift; physically proper parameter; flapping flight; Strouhal number; hover; bumblebee; specific kinetic energy; blade element method; Reynolds numbers lift coefficient; normalized lift; physically proper parameter; flapping flight; Strouhal number; hover; bumblebee; specific kinetic energy; blade element method; Reynolds numbers
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Burgers, P. Comparison of the Average Lift Coefficient ͞CL and Normalized Lift ͞ηL for Evaluating Hovering and Forward Flapping Flight. Aerospace 2016, 3, 24.

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