Unsteady model of sail and flow interaction

O. Le Maître*, S. Huberson, E. Souza De Cursi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


We present an analysis and a numerical method for predicting the response of a two-dimensional sail in unsteady flow. The fluid is considered inviscid and incompressible so that the perturbation of the uniform inflow can be treated within vortex sheet theory. Due to the very small thickness of the sail, the assumption of the ideal flexibility can be made, and a nonlinear membrane model is used to solve the dynamics of the sail. Energy considerations on the complete system provide a variational formulation of the flow-structure interaction problem, which can be solved by using the boundary element method and a point vortex approximation of the wake. Numerical simulations for harmonic perturbation of the trailing edge and random inflows exhibit the nonlinear response of the sail.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)37-59
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Fluids and Structures
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1999
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanical Engineering


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