A Computational Fluid Dynamics Study of Propulsion Due to the Orientation Effects of Swimmer’s Hand

in Journal of Applied Biomechanics
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The aim of the article is to determine the hydrodynamic characteristics of a swimmer’s scanned hand model for various possible combinations of both the angle of attack and the sweepback angle, simulating separate underwater arm stroke phases of front crawl swimming. An actual swimmer’s hand with thumb adducted was scanned using an Artec L 3D scanner. ANSYS Fluent code was applied for carrying out steady-state computational fluid dynamics (CFD) analysis. The hand model was positioned in nine different positions corresponding to the swimmer’s hand orientations (angle of attack and sweepback angle) and velocities observed during the underwater hand stroke of front crawl. Hydrodynamic forces and coefficients were calculated. Results showed significantly higher drag coefficient values in the pull phase, when compared with previous studies under a steady-state flow condition. The mean value of the ratio of drag and lift coefficients was 2.67 ± 2.3 in underwater phases. The mean value of the ratio of drag and lift forces was 2.73 ± 2.4 in underwater phases. Moreover, hydrodynamic coefficients were not almost constant throughout different flow velocities, and variation was observed for different hand positions corresponding to different stroke phases. The current study suggests that the realistic variation of both the orientation angles influenced higher values of drag, lift and resultant coefficients and forces.

Milda Bilinauskaite is with the Department of Mechanical Engineering and with the Mechatronics Centre for Research, Studies and Information, Kaunas University of Technology, Kaunas, Lithuania, and also with the Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro, Vila Real, and the Centre of Research in Sports, Health and Human Development, CIDESD, Vila Real, Portugal. Vishveshwar R. Mantha (Corresponding Author) is with the Department of Mechanical Engineering and with the Department of Sport Sciences, Exercise and Health University of Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro, Vila Real, and also with the Centre of Research in Sports, Health and Human Development, CIDESD, Vila Real, Portugal. Abel I. Rouboa is with the Department of Sport Sciences, Exercise and Health University of Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro, Vila Real, Portugal. Pranas Ziliukas is with the Department of Mechanical Engineering, Kaunas University of Technology, Kaunas, Lithuania. António J. Silva is with the Centre of Research in Sports, Health and Human Development, CIDESD, Vila Real, and with the Department of Sport Sciences, Exercise and Health, University of Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro, Vila Real, Portugal.