Flow-induced deformations and stress reduction by flexibility

Abstract : The static deflection of a flexible structure exposed to a transverse flow is classically known to reduce the drag it has to withstand. In the field of biomechanics, the flow-induced deformation of flexible plant elements leading to a reduction of the loads is referred to as `reconfiguration', in order to highlight the alleged benefits of such adaptive process. In this thesis, we investigate the mechanisms underpinning the reconfiguration in flow-structure systems featuring some spatial variability, or some dynamics arising either from the unsteadiness of the free-stream, from a flow-structure coupling leading to an instability, or from vortex-induced vibrations. We show that the ability of flexible structures to reduce the magnitude of the flow-induced loads is preserved in the presence of non-uniformities or dynamics, provided that the design of the structure is such that resistive drag dominates over inertial forces. We also show that the ability to deform has the added benefit of reducing the magnitude of the vortex-induced vibrations. Our work further indicates that light, slender structures are better suited to accommodate the flow-induced loads by reconfiguring, and that the efficiency of the process of load reduction by elastic reconfiguration is weakly sensitive to the spatial distribution of the system properties. Finally, regardless of the regime of reconfiguration, the reduction of the load always results from the concentration of the deformation on a characteristic bending length smaller than the actual length of the structure.
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Tristan Leclercq. Flow-induced deformations and stress reduction by flexibility. Mechanics [physics]. Université Paris-Saclay, 2018. English. ⟨NNT : 2018SACLX006⟩. ⟨tel-01713253⟩

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