Aerodynamics of the Maple Seed [book]

Philip Desenfans, University, My, University, My, Dieter Scholz
Purpose - The paper presents a theoretical framework that describes the aerodynamics of a falling maple (Acer pseudoplatanus) seed. --- Methodology - A semi-empirical method is developed that provides a ratio stating how much longer a seed falls in air compared to freefall. The generated lift is calculated by evaluating the integral of two-dimensional airfoil elements using a preliminary falling speed. This allows for the calculation of the definitive falling speed using Blade Element Momentum
more » ... heory (BEMT); hereafter, the fall duration in air and in freefall are obtained. Furthermore, the input-variables of the calculation of lift are transformed to require only the length and width of the maple seed. Lastly, the method is applied to two calculation examples as a means of validation. --- Findings - The two example calculations gave percentual errors of 5.5% and 3.7% for the falling speed when compared to measured values. The averaged result is that a maple seed falls 9.9 times longer in air when released from 20 m; however, this result is highly dependent on geo-metrical parameters which can be accounted for using the constructed method. --- Research limitations - Firstly, the coefficient of lift is unknown for the shape of a maple seed. Secondly, the approximated transient state is yet to be verified by measurement. --- Originality / Value - The added value of this report lies in the reduction of simplifications compared to BEMT approaches. In this way a large amount of accuracy is achieved due to the inclusion of many geometrical parameters, even though simplicity is maintained. This has been accomplished through constructing a simple three-step method that is fundamental and essen-tially non-iterative.
doi:10.15488/9373 fatcat:sip7fiba3rck3ezlac5hhvi4ge