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Biomimetic reduction of wake deficit using tail articulation at low Reynolds number

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4 Author(s)
D. Opila ; Dept. of Mech. Eng., Massachusetts Inst. of Technol., Cambridge, MA, USA ; A. M. Annaswamy ; W. P. Krol ; S. Raghu

The field of biomimetics seeks to distill biological principles from nature and implement them in engineering systems in an effort to improve various performance metrics. In this paper, a biology-based approach is used to address the problem of radiated propulsor noise in underwater vehicles using active control. This approach is one of "tail articulation" of a stator blade, which is carried out using a suitable strategy that effectively alters the flow field impinging on a rotor downstream and in turn changes the radiated noise characteristics of the rotor blades. A reduced-order two-dimensional noise model is developed by characterizing the impact of the articulation as a point circulation input, which is then used to develop an active control strategy. An experimental investigation of such a control strategy is also carried out in this paper using a simple benchtop open-channel water tunnel at Re=4000 and stepper motor controlled articulation. Tail articulations using sinusoidal and transient motion were able to reduce the wake deficit behind the stator by as much as 40-60%. The implications of the proposed method for reducing blade tonal noise in autonomous underwater vehicles are briefly discussed at the end of the paper.

Published in:

IEEE Journal of Oceanic Engineering  (Volume:29 ,  Issue: 3 )