A current project is underway to create a prototype of an anatomically correct seagull with biologically accurate flight kinematics. The presented work is focused on the computational fluid dynamics (CFD) analysis of bird flight kinematics. A finite volume approach, using Fluent, was used to attempt to model the kinematics of bird flight with varying degrees of freedom to analyze the lift, drag, pressure, and vortices magnitude associated with a range of flight kinematics. Dimensional analysis has been performed to analyze the effects of angle of incidence on the different sections of a seagull wing. Validated CFD analysis has been performed to identify optimal degree of freedom for generating maximum amount of lift while minimizing drag.

The analysis benefitted from dynamic meshing and a user defined function to model the seagull wing, profiles of which were approximated by the S1223 airfoil. The user defined function allowed for variation of degrees of freedom to model the flight in the current bird prototype and to assess the effects of changing angles of incidence and inlet velocity on lift and drag. Difficulties were encountered when trying to accurately analyze unsteady aerodynamics over a flapping motion. The appropriate grid resolution, the user defined function, as well as the appropriate grid and dynamic mesh parameters within Fluent were all possible areas of concern. The grid resolution was determined by analyzing a steady state case and determining the variation in lift and drag values calculated by increasing the grid density. A user defined function was created that accurately represents the kinematics associated with the bird wing. A triangular grid was utilized for the dynamic mesh with re-meshing procedure activated at every iteration during the analysis. The final geometry provided an accurate method for dynamic re-meshing and overcame the problem of negative cell volume associated with re-meshing using a rectangular mesh configuration. It was determined that maximum cell volume, number of time steps, and time step interval were all important criteria when determining parameters for the unsteady flight analysis.

Results indicate that the unsteady dynamics of bird flapping motion can be effectively represented with modified CFD analysis with updated finite volume scheme. Data indicates that values associated with varying angles of attack at a steady state cannot be used to model flapping flight. The paper will report on further validation to analyze the pressure, lift and drag associated with flapping flight in a three-dimensional study.

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