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Experimental studies of fluid-structure interaction on downwind sails

Abstract : A full-scale experimental study on an instrumented sailing yacht is conducted to better assess the aero-elastic behaviour of the sails and rigging in downwind navigations. The downwind sail shape is a non-developable surface with high curvature leading to massive flow separation. In addition, spinnakers are thin and flexible sails leading to a strongly coupled Fluid-Structure Interaction. Due to the non-respect of some rules of similitude, the unsteady behaviour of downwind sails cannot be easily investigated with wind tunnel tests that would need comparison with full-scale experiments. Moreover unsteady numerical simulations modelling the aero-elastic behaviour of the sails and rigging require validations. An inboard instrumentation system has been developed on a 8 meter J/80 sailboat to simultaneously and dynamically measure the flying shape of the spinnaker, the aerodynamic loads transmitted to the rigging, the pressure distribution on the sail as well as the boat and wind data. The shape of the spinnaker while sailing is acquired by a photogrammetric system developed during this PhD. The accuracy of this new system, better than 1.5%, is used to measure the global shape and the main dynamic deformations, such as the flapping of the luff. The aerodynamic load produced by the spinnaker is assessed by the measurements of the load magnitudes and directions on the three corners of the sail (head, tack and clew), and also by the pressure distribution on the spinnaker. The global behaviour of the spinnaker is analysed according to the apparent wind angle. A new representation using Bézier triangular surfaces defines the spinnaker 3D shape. A few control points enable to represent the sail and can easily characterise the type of sail. A typical unsteady behaviour of the spinnaker is also analysed. Letting the luff of the sail flap is known by sailors as the optimal trim but has never been scientifically studied before. It is found that it is a complex three dimensional fluid-structure interaction problem where a high suction near the leading edge occurs, producing a temporary increase of the force coefficient that would not be possible otherwise.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, December 20, 2016 - 3:16:07 PM
Last modification on : Friday, August 5, 2022 - 2:53:59 PM


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  • HAL Id : tel-01368071, version 2


Julien Deparday. Experimental studies of fluid-structure interaction on downwind sails. Fluid mechanics [physics.class-ph]. Université de Bretagne occidentale - Brest, 2016. English. ⟨NNT : 2016BRES0044⟩. ⟨tel-01368071v2⟩



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