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Published December 2013 | Published
Journal Article Open

Optimal vortex formation in a self-propelled vehicle


Previous studies have shown that the formation of coherent vortex rings in the near-wake of a self-propelled vehicle can increase propulsive efficiency compared with a steady jet wake. The present study utilizes a self-propelled vehicle to explore the dependence of propulsive efficiency on the vortex ring characteristics. The maximum propulsive efficiency was observed to occur when vortex rings were formed of the largest physical size, just before the leading vortex ring would pinch off from its trailing jet. These experiments demonstrate the importance of vortex ring pinch off in self-propelled vehicles, where coflow modifies the vortex dynamics.

Additional Information

© 2013 Cambridge University Press. Received 6 June 2013; revised 16 September 2013; accepted 16 October 2013; first published online 15 November 2013. The authors gratefully acknowledge the support of the Office of Naval Research Grants N000140810918 and N000141010137 to J.O.D. In addition, the authors thank Professor D. J. Stilwell and B. McCarter for providing the baseline AUV used in these experiments, and the reviewers for helpful comments on the work.

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