Load-estimation techniques for unsteady incompressible flows

David E. Rival*, Bas van Oudheusden

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)
67 Downloads (Pure)


In a large variety of fluid-dynamic problems, it is often impossible to directly measure the instantaneous aerodynamic or hydrodynamic forces on a moving body. Examples include studies of propulsion in nature, either with mechanical models or living animals, wings, and blades subjected to significant surface contamination, such as icing, sting blockage effects, etc. In these circumstances, load estimation from flow-field data provides an attractive alternative method, while at the same time providing insight into the relationship between unsteady loadings and their associated vortex-wake dynamics. Historically, classical control-volume techniques based on time-averaged measurements have been used to extract the mean forces. With the advent of high-speed imaging, and the rapid progress in time-resolved volumetric measurements, such as Tomo-PIV and 4D-PTV, it is becoming feasible to estimate the instantaneous forces on bodies of complex geometry and/or motion. For effective application under these conditions, a number of challenges still exist, including the near-body treatment of the acceleration field as well as the estimation of pressure on the outer surfaces of the control volume. Additional limitations in temporal and spatial resolutions, and their associated impact on the feasibility of the various approaches, are also discussed. Finally, as an outlook towards the development of future methodologies, the potential application of Lagrangian techniques is explored.

Original languageEnglish
Article number20
Number of pages11
JournalExperiments in Fluids: experimental methods and their applications to fluid flow
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2017


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