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Aerodynamics of the Maple Seed

Philip Desenfans

Purpose - The paper presents a theoretical framework that describes the aerodynamics of a falling maple (Acer pseudoplatanus) seed. --- Methodology - A semi-empirical method is developed that provides a ratio stating how much longer a seed falls in air compared to freefall. The generated lift is calculated by evaluating the integral of two-dimensional airfoil elements using a preliminary falling speed. This allows for the calculation of the definitive falling speed using Blade Element Momentum Theory (BEMT); hereafter, the fall duration in air and in freefall are obtained. Furthermore, the input-variables of the calculation of lift are transformed to require only the length and width of the maple seed. Lastly, the method is applied to two calculation examples as a means of validation. --- Findings - The two example calculations gave percentual errors of 5.5% and 3.7% for the falling speed when compared to measured values. The averaged result is that a maple seed falls 9.9 times longer in air when released from 20 m; however, this result is highly dependent on geometrical parameters which can be accounted for using the constructed method. --- Research limitations - Firstly, the coefficient of lift is unknown for the shape of a maple seed. Secondly, the approximated transient state is yet to be verified by measurement. --- Originality / Value - The added value of this report lies in the reduction of simplifications compared to BEMT approaches. In this way a large amount of accuracy is achieved due to the inclusion of many geometrical parameters, even though simplicity is maintained. This has been accomplished through constructing a simple three-step method that is fundamental and essentially non-iterative.

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Type of work: Project
Advisor / Examiner:Dieter Scholz
Published by:Aircraft Design and Systems Group (AERO), Department of Automotive and Aeronautical Engineering, Hamburg University of Applied Sciences
This work is part of:transparent pin for text alignment Digital Library - Projects & Theses - Prof. Dr. Scholz --- http://library.ProfScholz.de pin
URN: https://nbn-resolving.org/urn:nbn:de:gbv:18302-aero2019-06-01.016 (to reach this page)
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Keywords, German (GND): Aerodynamik,   Ahorn,   Auftrieb,   Strömungsabriss
Keywords, English (LCSH): Aerodynamics,   Maple,   Lift (Aerodynamics),   Stalling (Aerodynamics)
Keywords, free: Aerodynamisches Profil, Anstellwinkel, Freier Fall, Bergahorn, Samen, Evolutionsbiologie, Aerofoils, Angle of attack (Aerodynamics), Acer pseudoplatanus, Seeds, Evolution (Biology), Blade Element Momentum Theory, BEMT, free fall, post-stall, autorotation
DDC: 629.13,    629.1323,    576.8,    581.467
RVK: ZO 7230

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Prof. Dr.-Ing. Dieter Scholz, MSME
E-Mail see: http://www.ProfScholz.de


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DESENFANS, Philip, 2019. Aerodynamics of the Maple Seed. Project. Hamburg University of Applied Sciences, Aircraft Design and Systems Group (AERO). Available from: https://nbn-resolving.org/urn:nbn:de:gbv:18302-aero2019-06-01.016 [viewed YYYY-MM-DD].

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LAST UPDATE:  12 December 2021
AUTHOR:  Prof. Dr. Scholz

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