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Analysis of a flapping foil system for energy harvesting at low Reynolds number

Abstract

The new type of power generation system which mimics the flapping motion of insects or fish has been studied in recent years. The biological flapping foil is capable of harvesting energy from incoming wind or current. A non- sinusoidal trajectory profile and linear shear inlet profile are proposed for the flapping foil in the energy harvesters instead of conventional sinusoidal plunging and pitching motions to get better energy harvesting performance. In this study we create a numerical model using the commercial finite volume computational fluid dynamics code FLUENT to investigate the energy harvesting performance of such a system. We control linear shear inlet profiles and non-sinusoidal profiles by varying parameters K, D, and G. This investigation shows that using a linear shear inlet profile and a non-sinusoidal heaving profile may increase energy harvesting efficiency as high as 9% and 3% compared to conventional flapping foil systems, respectively. Specifically, staying leading edge vortex on the upper surface of a foil and synchronization between the foil movements and the evolution of vorticity field is crucial points to get higher energy harvesting efficiency. Controlled these will be able to enhance the energy harvesting capacity

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