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The Effect of Design Parameters on the Performance of Flagellar Propeller at Low Reynolds Number

[+] Author Affiliations
Hyejin Jeon, Dongwook Yim, Jung Yul Yoo

Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea

Yoon-Cheol Kim, Eun Goh, Songwan Jin

Korea Polytechnic University, Siheung, Gyeonggi, Korea

Paper No. AJK2011-16019, pp. 2937-2943; 7 pages
  • ASME-JSME-KSME 2011 Joint Fluids Engineering Conference
  • ASME-JSME-KSME 2011 Joint Fluids Engineering Conference: Volume 1, Symposia – Parts A, B, C, and D
  • Hamamatsu, Japan, July 24–29, 2011
  • Conference Sponsors: Fluids Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4440-3
  • Copyright © 2011 by KSME


To drive a small object which swims in low Reynolds number situation, we need a new type of propeller which is optimized for low Reynolds number usage since the flow at low Reynolds numbers is dominated by viscous force instead of inertia force. Propeller in a shape of bacterial flagellum can be a strong candidate for propeller of small swimming object. In this paper, we visualized velocity field induced by flagellar shaped propeller using stereoscopic particle image velocimetry. We also have experimentally evaluated the effect of pitch and rotational speeds on the performance of flagellar shaped propeller inspired by flagellum of E.coli using macroscopic model. Silicone oil whose viscosity is 100 times larger than water is used as working fluid to make low Reynolds number situation using macroscopic model. Thrust, torque and velocity were measured as a function of pitch and rotational speed, and efficiency was calculated using measured results. We found that the maximum efficiency of flagellar propeller reaches where the pitch angle is about 40°. However, the effect of rotational speed on the efficiency is relatively smaller than that of pitch. And the flow pattern behind the rotating propeller was altered by pitch of the propeller.

Copyright © 2011 by KSME



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