Propulsive performance of unsteady tandem hydrofoils in an in-line configuration

Birgitt M. Boschitsch, Peter A. Dewey, Alexander J. Smits

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134 Scopus citations


Experiments are reported on the behavior of two hydrofoils arranged in an in-line configuration as they undergo prescribed pitching motions over a wide range of phase lags and spacings between the foils. It is found that the thrust production and propulsive efficiency of the upstream foil differed from that of an isolated one only for relatively closely spaced foils, and the effects attenuated rapidly with increasing spacing. In contrast, the performance of the downstream foil depends strongly on the streamwise spacing and phase differential between the foils for all cases considered, and the thrust and propulsive efficiency could be as high as 1.5 times or as low as 0.5 times those of an isolated foil. Particle image velocimetry reveals how the wake interactions lead to these variations in propulsive performance, where a coherent mode corresponds to enhanced performance, and a branched mode corresponds to diminished performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number051901
JournalPhysics of Fluids
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computational Mechanics
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes


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