Analysis of the transitional flow field over a fixed hummingbird wing

Yossef Elimelech, Charles P. Ellington
2012 Journal of Experimental Biology  
We analyzed the flow fields characterized by chord-based Reynolds numbers of 5000 to 15,000 over a stationary model of a hummingbird (Calypte anna) wing. Utilizing two experimental techniques, constant-temperature anemometry and stereo particle image velocimetry, the high-fidelity results depict a laminar-to-turbulent transition process that develops over the wing. At both zero and non-zero angles of attack the spectrum of the velocity signals is wide. At non-zero angles of attack the flow
more » ... ates from the wing surface and a shear layer forms. As a result, unsteady flow disturbances amplify at a chord-based Reynolds numbers as low as 5000. Nevertheless, only at a Reynolds number of 15,000 is the flow disturbance growth rate sufficient to bring enough momentum from the outer region of the boundary layer to reattach the flow to the wing surface. For a Reynolds number of 5000, a comparison between the observed growth rates and a theoretical approximation concludes that flow disturbances of a Strouhal number of unity (and above) are no longer two-dimensional. In view of these conclusions, this study could serve as the first step towards a better understanding of the flow mechanisms over steady revolving and periodically flapping wings at this Reynolds number regime.
doi:10.1242/jeb.075341 pmid:22996450 fatcat:6w75p6k6aff6dmjoogytzvzrdq