Thrust Measurements and Flow Field Analysis of a Piezoelectrically Actuated Oscillating Cantilever Conference Paper uri icon


  • Although not identical to the motion employed by natures swimmers and flyers, the simple harmonic oscillations of cantilever-like structures have been shown to provide efficient low power solutions for applications ranging from thermal management to propulsion. However, in order to quantify their true potential, the resulting flow field and corresponding thrust must be better understood. In this work, a thin, flexible cantilever is actuated via a piezoelectric patch mounted near its base and caused to vibrate in its first resonance mode in air. The flow field is experimentally measured with Particle Image Velocimetry while the thrust produced from the oscillatory motion is quantified using a high resolution scale. The trends observed in the data are captured using an oscillating Reynolds number and a clear relationship is defined between the operating parameters and the resulting thrust. Two dimensional flow fields are extracted from the x-y and y-z planes, and are primarily used to motivate future geometry and sidewall configurations that could greatly enhance the thrust capabilities of the cantilever by directing the flow downstream in a more effective manner.

name of conference

  • Volume 1: Symposia, Parts A and B

published proceedings

  • Volume 1: Symposia, Parts A and B

author list (cited authors)

  • Eastman, A., Kiefer, J., & Kimber, M.

citation count

  • 0

complete list of authors

  • Eastman, Andrew||Kiefer, Jacob||Kimber, Mark

publication date

  • July 2012