September 2015: Spinning Paper Wings Meet CFD

The theme for this month's newsletter is spinning paper wings. Let Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) be your guide as we progress from a simple spinning paper sheet to a tumblewing, and finish up with a control method (walkalong) for a tumblewing.

CFD Simulation of a Walkalong TumblewingCFD Simulation of a Walkalong TumblewingVelocity vectors at 90 degrees

Walkalong Tumblewing Meets CFD

To complete this series of CFD on simple rotating paper wings, we now turn our attention to the walkalong tumblewing. Read more >>

Tumblewing Meets CFD

Although a sheet of paper can be made to fly by spinning, it isn't always reliable. By adding winglets and flaps with 4 simple folds we can improve the stability of the wing and in so doing produce a tumblewing. How do the aerodynamics of a tumblewing compare with a sheet of paper? It just so happens CFD can help, just as it did with the simulation of the spinning sheet of paper. Read more >>

Spinning Paper Sheet Meets CFD

I don’t think anyone would argue with the fact that paper airplanes are simple (and fun!), but what is the simplest paper airplane that can still fly? I give you a single rectangular piece of paper without any folds that will gently spin around its longest horizontal axis if released with a long edge parallel to the ground. Next, what is the simplest CFD method that can capture the essence of the spinning paper? I give you the Moving Reference Frame (MRF, also known as the frozen rotor method) option for CFD. Combine the two and you arrive at an interesting simulation of a simple phenomenon. Read more >>