Force measurement on coupled flapping flags in uniform flow

Sun, C.B. and Wang, S.Y. and Jia, L.B. and Yin, X.Z. (2016) Force measurement on coupled flapping flags in uniform flow. Journal of Fluids and Structures, 61. pp. 339-346. ISSN 0889-9746 (

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An experimental study on the coupled flapping of two identical flags arranged in parallel, tandem, and staggered positions in uniform flow was conducted in a wind tunnel. The dynamic characteristics of each flag were measured using an in-house designed balance and the flapping modes were analyzed through a high-speed video recording technique and a "Spatio-Temporal Evolution" software. For the side-by-side arrangement, the dependences of the kinematic and dynamic parameters on the flow speed and on the mutual distance were observed. The results indicated that the coupling motion and dynamics of two parallel flags in uniform flow were mainly affected by their mutual position. Significant drag reductions were observed when the flags flapped in the in-phase mode for a relatively small separation. For two flags in tandem arrangement, both the upstream and downstream flags experienced a drag reduction compared to the scenario of a single flag in the same flow. Especially, for relatively large separation the upstream flag had a smaller drag coefficient than that of the downstream one. For very small separation, the drag coefficient of the upstream flag was larger than that of the downstream one. Finally, for two flags arranged in a staggered configuration, an anomalous drag distribution was found. This work provides valuable experimental data and casts insight into the coupling mechanism of multiple flexible structures in an air flow.