Qualitative and quantitative flow visualizations were performed on a flapping rigid plate to establish a quantitative method for flow observation and evaluation of the force in the near field of a flapping wing. Flow visualization was performed qualitatively with dye visualization and quantitatively with velocity measurements using stereo particle image velocimetry (PIV) on three planes near the tip of the plate along its chord and oriented normally. By ensemble averaging the velocity fields of the same phase angles, they represent a portion of the volume near the tip. Measurements were conducted with two flapping frequencies to compare the flow structure. The second invariant of the deformation tensor visualized the leading edge and mid-chord vortices around the plate appearing due to flow separation behind the plate while other vortical structures were visualized by streamlines. These structures appear to be related to the dynamics of the leading edge vortex. Force analysis by integrating the phase-averaged velocity field within a chosen control volume showed increases in the maxima of the magnitudes of the non-dimensional unsteady force terms on the edge of the plate at the angles after the end of each stroke. The nondimensional phase-averaged momentum flux was similar for both flapping frequencies.
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