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The accuracy of computational fluid dynamics analysis of the passive drag of a male swimmer

Barry Bixler a , David Pease b & Fiona Fairhurst c

a Honeywell Aerospace , Arizona, USA

b School of Physical Education, University of Otago , Dunedin, New Zealand

c Speedo International , UK Published online: 08 May 2007.

To cite this article: Barry Bixler , David Pease & Fiona Fairhurst (2007) The accuracy of computational fluid dynamics analysis of the passive drag of a male swimmer, Sports Biomechanics, 6:1, 81-98, DOI: 10.1080/14763140601058581

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Sports Biomechanics, January 2007; 6(1): 81–98

2014 Sports Biomechanics, January 2007; 6(1): 81–98 The accuracy of computational fluid dynamics analysis of

The accuracy of computational fluid dynamics analysis of the passive drag of a male swimmer

BARRY BIXLER 1 , DAVID PEASE 2 , & FIONA FAIRHURST 3

1 Honeywell Aerospace, Arizona, USA, 2 School of Physical Education, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand, and 3 Speedo International, UK

Abstract The aim of this study was to build an accurate computer-based model to study the water flow and drag force characteristics around and acting upon the human body while in a submerged streamlined position. Comparisons of total drag force were performed between an actual swimmer, a virtual computational fluid dynamics (CFD) model of the swimmer, and an actual mannequin based on the virtual model. Drag forces were determined for velocities between 1.5 m/s and 2.25 m/s (representative of the velocities demonstrated in elite competition). The drag forces calculated from the virtual model using CFD were found to be within 4% of the experimentally determined values for the mannequin. The mannequin drag was found to be 18% less than the drag of the swimmer at each velocity examined. This study has determined the accuracy of using CFD for the analysis of the hydrodynamics of swimming and has allowed for the improved understanding of the relative contributions of various forms of drag to the total drag force experienced by submerged swimmers.

Keywords: Computational fluid dynamics, flume, passive drag, swimming

Introduction

The passive drag of swimmers moving under water in a streamlined position has been measured experimentally by, for example, Jiskoot and Clarys (1975), Kolmogorov and Duplishcheva (1992), and Lyttle, Blanksby, Elliott, and Lloyd (1998). These authors obtained conflicting results and revealed the difficulties involved in conducting such experimental research. An alternative approach, previously unused to determine a swimmer’s passive drag accurately, is to apply the numerical technique of computational fluid dynamics (CFD) to calculate the solution. The first application of computational fluid dynamics to swimming was by Bixler and Schloder (1996), when they used a two-dimensional CFD analysis to evaluate the effects of accelerating a hand-sized circular plate through the water. Their results suggested that a three-dimensional CFD analysis of a human form could provide useful information about swimming. Additional research using CFD techniques was performed by Riewald and Bixler (2001) and Bixler and Riewald (2002) to evaluate the steady and unsteady propulsive force of a swimmer’s hand and arm. However, no accurate CFD analysis of an entire swimmer’s body has yet been performed and then verified with testing. The aim of this study was to

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82 B. Bixler et al.

build an accurate computer-based model to study the water flow and drag force characteristics around and acting upon the human body while in a submerged streamlined position. The accuracy of the CFD model was checked by comparisons with experimentally measured drag on a mannequin and a real swimmer of the same shape in a water flume. The determination of the accuracy of the CFD model is a significant and necessary first step to take before proceeding to more advanced CFD analyses, such as the evaluation of active drag with the swimmer kicking or stroking.

Methods

To obtain accurate geometry of a human body, a laser body scan was undertaken of an elite male swimmer. Both the CFD model and the mannequin were accurately formed to be the same shape as the scanned swimmer who was later tested in the flume. Before testing, informed consent was obtained from the participant for all activities requiring his involvement. The laser scan created a “cloud of points” that represented the swimmer’s shape. The surfaces of the swimmer were then created from these points using Gambit, a geometry modelling program developed by Fluent, Inc. (Hanover, NH, USA), which provides sophisticated computational fluid dynamics software. These surfaces were then meshed using Tgrid, a meshing program also developed by Fluent Inc. Tgrid was also used to create the volume mesh just before importing the whole mesh into the Fluent Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) program for analysis.

CFD model

The swimmer was modelled as if he were underwater in a streamlined position, the shape normally achieved after pushing off from the wall after each turn. In the analyses reported here, the CFD model swimmer was not wearing a swimsuit. The swimmer used for the CFD and mannequin models was 1.86 m tall, with a finger to toe length of 2.34 m, and had head, chest, waist, and hip circumferences of 0.59 m, 1.02 m, 0.84 m, and 0.98 m respectively. The frontal projected area was 0.0934 m 2 , the total surface area was 1.859 m 2 , and the chest depth was 0.25 m.

area was 1.859 m 2 , and the chest depth was 0.25 m. Figure 1. CFD

Figure 1. CFD model geometry of swimmer and flume. The water surface and flume left wall have been removed for clarity. The flume water depth is 1.5 m. The width is 2.5 m. The mannequin is 2.34 m long from fingertips to toes, and the length of the model is 6.0 m.

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The CFD model was built to represent the geometry and flow conditions in the water flume where the testing of the mannequin and swimmer took place. The boundaries of the CFD model were created to match the water depth (1.5 m) and channel width (2.5 m) of the flume (Figure 1). The length of the CFD model of the flume was 6.0 m, of which 2.4 m was behind the swimmer so as to adequately capture the trailing water flow characteristics. The swimmer portion of the model was placed at a water depth of 0.75 m, equidistant from the top and bottom surfaces. The water surface was modelled as a plane of symmetry. This made the solution of the problem easier than if it had been modelled as a free surface. This assumption was proven to be correct in a separate experimental study (using the same mannequin) by Vennell and colleagues (Vennell, Pease, and Wilson, 2006), in which the mannequin was moved incrementally closer to the water surface at various velocities. It was found that the original mannequin position, 0.75 m below the water surface, was below the location where “surface effects” begin to influence significantly the drag force on the mannequin. Specifically, the measurements showed that, to avoid significant wave drag, a swimmer must be deeper than 1.8 chest depths and 2.8 chest depths below the surface for velocities of 0.9 m/s and 2.0 m/s respectively. Since the mannequin and swimmer have a chest depth of 0.25 m, this corresponds to depths of 0.45 m and 0.70 m respectively. These results agree with research conducted by Lyttle et al. (1998), who concluded that there is no significant wave drag when a typical adult swimmer is at least 0.6 m under the water’s surface. The boundary inlet of the computational domain had uniform velocities applied to it, while the outlet surface had no prescribed values (classical outflow boundary). The sides and bottom of the flume were modelled as walls. The CFD swimmer’s body surface (Figures 2–5)

as walls. The CFD swimmer’s body surface (Figures 2–5) Figure 2. Front, side and back views

Figure 2. Front, side and back views of the swimmer CFD geometry. These surfaces were created from the laser body scans.

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84 B. Bixler et al.

at 04:07 21 October 2014 84 B. Bixler et al. Figure 3. Mesh detail of the

Figure 3. Mesh detail of the head with goggles. The mesh around the head is critical for the accurate prediction of the boundary layer separation that takes place there.

had roughness parameters of zero (no swimsuit). Non-equilibrium wall functions, designed to bridge the viscosity-affected region between the wall and the fully turbulent region, were used on the swimmer surface to capture better the flow separation and reattachment from the body, and to improve the accuracy of the skin friction calculations. The initial number of cells in the model was about 1.3 million. The grid was a hybrid mesh composed of prisms and pyramids. Significant efforts were made to ensure that the model would provide accurate results. Five prism cell layers were developed within the boundary layer of the swimmer to provide values valid for the log-law used in fluid dynamics applications. In addition, adaptive meshing was performed in areas of high velocity and pressure gradients (adaptive meshing is a process whereby, after the initial analysis, the mesh

is a process whereby, after the initial analysis, the mesh Figure 4. Mesh detail of the

Figure 4. Mesh detail of the hands. The modeling of the hands is also critical, for they are the first thing that the water ‘sees’. As such, they significantly impact the flow along the rest of the body.

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Computational fluid dynamics and flume passive drag 85 Figure 5. Mesh detail of the feet. On

Figure 5. Mesh detail of the feet. On the feet, it is the heels that are most important, as they ‘stick out’ into the flow steam, picking up a lot of drag.

is refined in selective volumes based upon the initial solution). The analyses were then re- run, and the results compared with previous findings. This was repeated several times until the total drag results, as well as the local drag results in high gradient areas, stopped changing with additional refinement, indicating that the mesh size was optimum. This increased the mesh size to around 2.6 million cells. This is a standard technique to ensure that mesh refinement is sufficient to achieve accurate results. Steady-state CFD analyses were performed using the Fluent CFD code, and drag forces were calculated for velocities ranging between 1.50 and 2.25 m/s in increments of 0.25 m/s. The Fluent code solves flow problems by replacing the complex Navier-Stokes fluid flow equations with discretized algebraic expressions that can be solved by iterative computerized calculations. Fluent uses the finite volume method of solution, where the equations are integrated over each control volume. The following paragraphs detail the parameters chosen to be used in the Fluent solution. Readers not familiar with CFD terminology are referred to Bixler and Riewald (2002), where an online appendix defines many of these parameters discussed below. There are various choices within the Fluent code for solution techniques, turbulence models, and computation schemes. A proper choice for these parameters is critical for achieving accurate results and the choices are usually based upon the experience of the user. We chose the segregated solver with the standard turbulence model for most of the analyses because this turbulence model was shown to be accurate in previous research for predicting the drag on a swimmer’s arm and hand (Bixler and Riewald, 2002). In addition, to assess the sensitivity of drag predictions to the choice of turbulence model, analyses using three other turbulence models were also done for a single velocity of 2.0 m/s. The use of these models implies that the flow, when attached to the swimmer, is turbulent. Turbulent flow means that the flow does not move along in smooth layers, but that it “twitches” up, down, and side to side in small amounts as it moves forward. Turbulent flow does not necessarily imply that the fluid is detached from the swimmer’s surface. Turbulent flow can, and often is, still attached to the surface.

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86 B. Bixler et al.

All numerical computation schemes were second-order, which provides a more accurate solution than first-order schemes. The water properties used in the analysis were those measured in the flume, including a turbulence intensity of 1.0% and a turbulence scale of 0.093 m. Turbulence intensity can be viewed as a measure of the fluid velocity fluctuation over time relative to the steady-state velocity. Mathematically it is defined as the ratio of the root-mean-square of the velocity fluctuations to the mean flow velocity. Turbulence scale is best thought of as the size of turbulence pockets in the flow. Both of these parameters are a function of the flume geometry and structural grid within the flume. Incompressible flow, appropriate for water, was assumed. The water temperature, based upon flume measurements, was 298C, with a density of 996.0 kg/m 3 and a viscosity of 8.1 £ 10 24 kg/(m·s). The initial CFD analyses were done with the swimmer in the same horizontal position (angle of attack ¼ 08) as the mannequin and human swimmer would be when tested in the flume. We wanted, however, to determine what effect small changes in the angle of attack had on drag. Therefore, two additional models were created and analysed, where the angles of attack were þ 3.08 and 2 4.58 respectively from the horizontal orientation. The angle of attack was defined as the angle between a horizontal line and a line drawn from the tip of the leading middle finger to the ankle bone. Interference drag occurs when an object is tested in a flume or wind tunnel. If the true drag of object A is known and the true drag of object B is known, when they are put close together in a flume or wind tunnel, their total drag when measured is not equal to the sum of their individual drags. This is because each object can interfere with the flow around the other object. Although experimentalists are aware of interference drag, they do not have the means

are aware of interference drag, they do not have the means Figure 6. CFD model with

Figure 6. CFD model with supports included. The extended CFD model, which includes the flume supports, is 8.5 m long. The support strut is 2.81 m upstream from the fingertips. The small strut has a frictionless sleeve on its end through which the support rod moves. The velocity meter is 0.115 m above the support rod and is 1.07 m forward of the fingertips.

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to determine it, and the drag on a test specimen is usually simply taken as the drag of the test specimen with its supporting structure minus the drag of the supporting structure alone. However, CFD analysis techniques allow us to calculate interference drag through the creation and use of a second CFD model that includes all the support structures (Figure 6) in front of the swimmer. The interference drag was calculated by subtracting the drag force on the CFD swimmer from the larger model that includes the supports from the drag force on the CFD model of the swimmer only, without supports. This calculated interference drag shows that the support structures partially shield the swimmer from the water flow, reducing the drag from what it would be if the support structures had not been there. Therefore, calculated interference drag was added to the measured drag on the mannequin and swimmer to account for the support interference during the flume testing.

Mannequin flume test set-up

The flume used for the testing is located at the University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand. It was chosen for its low turbulence and its large size, which limits the effect of the flume boundaries on drag force determination. The mannequin was designed such that it could be made neutrally buoyant and centrally balanced and its surface was very smooth. The balance and buoyancy of the mannequin were controlled by selective purging or filling of multiple ballast tanks distributed within the body of the mannequin. To minimize free surface or

the body of the mannequin. To minimize free surface or Figure 7. Mannequin with briefs in

Figure 7. Mannequin with briefs in the flume, showing strut, rod, and load cell positions. The bottom photo is taken through an underwater viewing window.

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88 B. Bixler et al.

bottom effects, the mannequin was positioned in the flume at a depth of 0.75 m, an equal distance between the water surface and the flume bottom, and also halfway between the two wall surfaces (Figure 7). It was supported by a rod 0.015 m in diameter that extended from a single fingertip to a support strut 2.81 m upstream from the mannequin (Figure 6). Preliminary testing of the mannequin was done for both face-up and face-down positions; the mean drag results were the same. However, because of the location of the mannequin’s internal ballast tanks, it was most stable when submerged face-up in the water; therefore, that was the way it was oriented once final testing began. An AMTI model MC3-6-1000 load cell interfaced with an AD Instruments Maclab 8e was attached to the support strut (Figure 7) to measure drag force. A smaller thin strut of width 0.015 m was placed 1.07 m in front of the mannequin to act as a frictionless guide through which the rod was fed. Attached to this strut 0.115 m above the horizontal rod was a velocity meter (Marsh McBinney Flow Mate 2000; Figure 6), which measured the free stream velocity. Data sampling of both force and velocity was made at 100 Hz. Each test lasted 30 s, and five tests were performed at each velocity (1.50, 1.75, 2.00, and 2.25 m/s). The mannequin was tested both with and without a Speedo brief. After the mannequin testing was complete, the mannequin was detached from the support structures, and the drag of the support structures alone was measured. This “tare” drag was subtracted from the mannequin þ support structure total drag to determine just the drag on the mannequin. Then, the adjustment for interference drag was added, as described in the previous section, and shown in the following equation:

Total Mannequin Drag ðTable IIÞ ¼ Drag SS m 2 Drag S þ Drag I

where Drag SS m ¼ measured flume drag of mannequin with supports, Drag S ¼ measured flume drag of support only, and Drag I ¼ calculated interference drag from CFD modelling.

Swimmer flume test set-up

The participating swimmer, who had been scanned to create the CFD and mannequin model, was also tested in the flume, wearing a Speedo brief. The support configuration was the same as for the mannequin, with two exceptions: a small handle was attached to the end of the rod for the swimmer to grasp, and the swimmer was tested face-down in the water but still at a depth of 0.75 m. The swimmer was tested face-down because preliminary testing showed he was better able to maintain a more consistent streamline while face-down. During testing, the swimmer successfully held an overall shape equal to the shape he was in while scanned, but small increases in angle of attack of less than 38 were noted as the velocity was increased. Data sampling of both force and velocity was made at 100 Hz. Each test lasted 15 s, after swimmer stabilization, and five tests were performed at each velocity (1.50, 1.75, 2.00, and 2.25 m/s). We wanted to determine the drag of the swimmer without a swimsuit for comparison with the CFD modelling.Since the swimmer could not beeasily tested without a suit, hewas testedwitha Speedo brief and drag forces were measured. Then, after corrections for support and interference drag, the ratio of the mannequin drag without a suit to mannequin drag with a suit was determined as an adjustment factor. The drag forces of the human swimmer with suit were

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multiplied by this factor to approximate the drag forces of the human swimmer without a suit. The following equation represents how the final drag on the human swimmer without swimsuit was calculated:

Human Drag no suit ðTable IIIÞ¼ðDrag SS h 2 Drag S þ Drag IÞ £ Ratio

where Drag SS h ¼ measured drag of swimmer with suit and supports, Drag S ¼ measured flume drag of support only, Drag I ¼ calculated interference drag from CFD modelling, and Ratio ¼ the ratio of mannequin drag without suit to mannequin drag with suit Drag coefficients were also calculated from the final results using C d ¼ F d /(1/2 rV 2 A), where C d is the drag coefficient, F d is the drag force, r is the water density, V is the steady free stream relative velocity of the swimmer to the water, and A is the frontal maximum projected area of the body.

Statistical analysis

A statistical analysis of the experimental results provides some useful insight into the accuracy of the testing. The mannequin was tested five times for each test condition, and the test duration was 30 s per test, after the water velocity reached steady state. The swimmer was also tested five times, but the test duration was limited to 15 s per test, after the swimmer achieved as stable a streamline as was possible. Force and velocity were both sampled at 100 Hz. The drag force and velocity means and standard deviations ( s ) were calculated for each individual test. Then the data of the five tests for each condition were combined and new means and standard deviations for the pooled data were determined.

and standard deviations for the pooled data were determined. Figure 8. CFD oil-film plot shows the

Figure 8. CFD oil-film plot shows the direction of water flow around the body.

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90 B. Bixler et al.

Table I. Results of CFD analysis.

Velocity

Pressure force

Skin friction

Total force

% Skin friction

Total drag coefficient

(m/s)

(N)

(N)

(N)

1.50

22.99

8.59

31.58

27.20

0.302

1.75

31.46

11.28

42.74

26.39

0.300

2.00

41.26

14.32

55.57

25.77

0.298

2.25

52.40

17.68

70.08

25.23

0.297

Results

CFD results

The path of the water moving near the swimmer’s surface is revealed by a CFD oil-film plot (Figure 8). The drag coefficients for the CFD model (Table I) were calculated as detailed in the Methods section. They changed slightly from 0.302 at 1.5 m/s to 0.297 at 2.25 m/s. A similar slight decline in drag coefficients was seen by Bixler and Riewald (2002) in their CFD study of propulsive arm and hand drag, and also by Berger and colleagues (Berger, de Groot, and Hollander, 1995) in their experimental study of hand and arm drag. The calculated drag forces (Figure 9) show that, although pressure drag was dominant, skin friction drag was by no means insignificant. The percentage of total drag due to skin friction varied from 27% at 1.50 m/s to 25% at 2.25 m/s. However, these percentages are based upon the swimmer’s surface having a zero roughness. If the surface roughness were increased in the model, the friction drag would be even higher. On the other hand, if the swimmer were on the water’s surface, these percentages would be reduced owing to the reduction in wetted area and the generation of wave drag. Also, increased roughness could lead to earlier boundary layer separation, thus increasing pressure drag. In addition to the chosen standard turbulence model used in the analyses, three other turbulence models were tried to establish whether the percentage of total drag attributable to skin friction (26%) changed. There were small changes in the friction contribution to total drag, but all were within 2.7% of the original 26%, providing additional confidence that the distribution of total drag between skin friction and pressure was determined with sufficient accuracy.

and pressure was determined with sufficient accuracy. Figure 9. Model drag force versus velocity. The skin

Figure 9. Model drag force versus velocity. The skin friction drag is approximately 26% of the total drag when the swimmer is streamlined under the surface (as after each turn).

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Table II. Mannequin test data (mean ^ s ).

Mean velocity

(m/s)

Mean force

(N)

Mean velocity

(m/s)

Mean force

(N)

Mean velocity

(m/s)

Mean force

(N)

Mean velocity

(m/s)

Mean force

(N)

Support-only test number

160

1.50 ^ 0.01

6.95 ^ 0.42

1.75 ^ 0.01

9.36 ^ 0.53

2.02 ^ 0.01

12.14 ^ 0.54

2.26 ^ 0.01

16.27 ^ 0.58

161

1.50 ^ 0.01

7.25 ^ 0.49

1.75 ^ 0.01

9.71 ^ 0.50

2.02 ^ 0.01

12.23 ^ 0.56

2.25 ^ 0.01

15.77 ^ 0.68

163

1.49 ^ 0.01

7.55 ^ 0.43

1.74 ^ 0.01

10.13 ^ 0.55

2.01 ^ 0.01

12.70 ^ 0.56

2.25 ^ 0.01

16.52 ^ 0.60

164

1.50 ^ 0.01

7.10 ^ 0.40

1.75 ^ 0.01

9.58 ^ 0.47

2.02 ^ 0.01

12.28 ^ 0.56

2.24 ^ 0.01

16.19 ^ 0.66

171

1.49 ^ 0.01

7.00 ^ 0.45

1.74 ^ 0.02

9.58 ^ 0.47

2.02 ^ 0.01

12.29 ^ 0.54

2.25 ^ 0.02

16.51 ^ 0.67

All (n ¼ 15,000) All (n ¼ 5)

1.50 ^ 0.01 1.50 ^ 0.01

7.17 ^ 0.49 7.17 ^ 0.24

1.75 ^ 0.01 1.75 ^ 0.01

9.67 ^ 0.56 9.67 ^ 0.28

2.02 ^ 0.01 2.02 ^ 0.01

12.33 ^ 0.59 12.33 ^ 0.22

2.25 ^ 0.01 2.25 ^ 0.01

16.25 ^ 0.70 16.25 ^ 0.30

No suit test number

210

1.50 ^ 0.02

34.44 ^ 1.07

1.72 ^ 0.01

47.62 ^ 1.38

2.02 ^ 0.01

63.87 ^ 2.36

2.25 ^ 0.01

82.94 ^ 2.87

211

1.49 ^ 0.01

33.91 ^ 1.11

1.74 ^ 0.00

47.44 ^ 1.60

2.01 ^ 0.01

63.90 ^ 1.91

2.25 ^ 0.01

81.57 ^ 2.52

212

1.49 ^ 0.01

33.73 ^ 1.13

1.73 ^ 0.01

47.65 ^ 1.56

2.01 ^ 0.01

64.89 ^ 2.45

2.24 ^ 0.01

81.88 ^ 2.50

213

1.49 ^ 0.00

34.45 ^ 1.16

1.75 ^ 0.01

48.39 ^ 1.55

1.99 ^ 0.01

64.62 ^ 2.46

2.24 ^ 0.01

81.44 ^ 3.35

214

1.50 ^ 0.01

33.65 ^ 0.96

1.73 ^ 0.01

46.93 ^ 1.55

2.03 ^ 0.01

64.28 ^ 2.55

2.25 ^ 0.01

80.20 ^ 3.81

All (n ¼ 15,000)

1.49 ^ 0.01

34.03 ^ 1.14

1.74 ^ 0.01

47.61 ^ 1.60

2.01 ^ 0.02

64.31 ^ 2.39

2.25 ^ 0.01

81.61 ^ 3.18

All (n ¼ 5)

1.49 ^ 0.01

34.03 ^ 0.39

1.74 ^ 0.01

47.61 ^ 0.52

2.01 ^ 0.01

64.31 ^ 0.45

2.25 ^ 0.01

81.61 ^ 0.98

Briefs test number

368

1.49 ^ 0.01

35.59 ^ 1.63

1.76 ^ 0.02

51.07 ^ 2.25

2.01 ^ 0.01

68.23 ^ 2.82

2.24 ^ 0.01

86.69 ^ 3.11

369

1.50 ^ 0.01

36.33 ^ 1.45

1.75 ^ 0.01

51.09 ^ 1.80

2.03 ^ 0.01

70.29 ^ 2.69

2.25 ^ 0.01

86.69 ^ 3.75

370

1.49 ^ 0.01

35.75 ^ 1.53

1.74 ^ 0.01

50.86 ^ 1.87

2.03 ^ 0.01

68.85 ^ 2.41

2.25 ^ 1.01

87.39 ^ 3.07

371

1.49 ^ 0.01

35.67 ^ 1.02

1.75 ^ 0.01

51.20 ^ 1.95

2.01 ^ 0.01

69.09 ^ 2.75

2.25 ^ 0.01

87.52 ^ 3.41

372

1.50 ^ 0.01

36.08 ^ 1.17

1.74 ^ 0.01

51.36 ^ 2.06

2.03 ^ 0.01

69.97 ^ 2.47

2.25 ^ 0.02

86.50 ^ 3.59

All (n ¼ 15,000) All (n ¼ 5)

1.49 ^ 0.01 1.49 ^ 0.01

35.89 ^ 1.41 35.89 ^ 0.31

1.75 ^ 0.01 1.75 ^ 0.01

51.12 ^ 2.00 51.12 ^ 0.19

2.02 ^ 0.01 2.02 ^ 0.01

69.25 ^ 2.74 69.25 ^ 0.87

2.25 ^ 0.01 2.25 ^ 0.00

86.96 ^ 3.42 86.96 ^ 0.46

B. Bixler et al.92

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Table III. Summary of mannequin test results (mean ^ s ).

 

Mannequin with support

Support only

Interference drag

Mannequin only

n

Mean velocity (m/s)

Mean force (N)

n

Mean velocity (m/s)

Mean force (N)

Force (N)

Mean force (N)

No Swimsuit

5

1.49

34.03 ^ 0.39

5

1.50

7.17 ^ 0.24 9.67 ^ 0.28 12.33 ^ 0.22 16.25 ^ 0.31

3.38

30.24 ^ 0.20 42.46 ^ 0.27 57.84 ^ 0.22 72.76 ^ 0.46

5

1.74

47.61 ^ 0.52

5

1.75

4.53

5

2.01

64.32 ^ 0.45

5

2.02

5.85

5

2.25

81.61 ^ 0.98

5

2.25

7.41

With briefs

Mean force (N) [Drag ratio: no swimsuit / with briefs] 32.10 ^ 0.20 [0.94] 45.97 ^ 0.15 [0.92] 62.77 ^ 0.40 [0.92] 78.11 ^ 0.25 [0.93]

5

1.49

35.89 ^ 0.31

5

1.50

7.17 ^ 0.24 9.67 ^ 0.28 12.33 ^ 0.22 16.25 ^ 0.31

3.38

5

1.75

51.12 ^ 0.19

5

1.75

4.53

5

2.02

69.25 ^ 0.88

5

2.02

5.85

5

2.25

89.96 ^ 0.46

5

2.25

7.41

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Computational fluid dynamics and flume passive drag

93

All the initial CFD analyses were done with the swimmer in the same ideal horizontal position (angle of attack ¼ 08) as the mannequin and human swimmer would be when tested in the flume. To determine what effect small changes in the angle of attack had on drag, two additional models were created and analysed, where the angles of attack were þ 38 and 2 4.58 respectively from the horizontal orientation. For both of these models, the calculated drag forces were slightly higher than those calculated from the initial model. The þ 38 model provided a force increase of 2.3%, and the 2 4.58 model provided a force increase of 2.4%. Given that both orientations resulted in increased drag, it is likely that the model orientation used for the initial analyses provided minimum drag values.

Mannequin and swimmer results

The mannequin was tested with and without a Speedo brief swimsuit (Tables II and III, Figure 10). The additional 6% drag caused by the small swimsuit was relatively large, indicating that even a brief swimsuit can play a significant role in a swimmer’s drag. Underwater viewing showed that the difference was probably caused by a combination of factors. At some points the waist band of the brief projected into the flow stream, and during testing many parts of the swimsuit could be seen to be fluttering under the flow. Both of these factors would increase drag. As explained in the Methods section, the mannequin and swimmer are partially protected from drag by the support structures in front of them. This effect, called “interference drag”, was calculated using the CFD model as described in the Methods section. The interference drag was calculated to be approximately 10% of the total drag, and this amount was added to the mannequin and human swimmer drag forces from the flume testing (Table III). The results for the human swimmer are shown in Tables IV and V. In this case, an additional adjustment was made for the swimsuit, as detailed in the Methods section, to obtain the drag on the human swimmer without a swimsuit. This adjustment resulted in a drag force reduction, as shown in Table V. The drag forces from all testing and analyses are summarized in Figure 11. The CFD and mannequin forces were within 4% of each other, and provided an excellent check of both experimental and analytical techniques. However, the mannequin drag was found to be

techniques. However, the mannequin drag was found to be Figure 10. Mannequin drag force versus velocity.

Figure 10. Mannequin drag force versus velocity. These are the drag forces on the mannequin after subtracting support drag and adding interference drag. The briefs increase the drag by approximately 6%.

B. Bixler et al.94

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Table IV. Swimmer test data (mean ^ s).

Mean velocity

(m/s)

Mean force

(N)

Mean velocity

(m/s)

Mean force

(N)

Mean velocity

(m/s)

Mean force

(N)

Mean velocity

(m/s)

Mean force

(N)

Support-only (with handle) test number

6

1.49 ^ 0.01

9.17 ^ 0.98

1.74 ^ 0.01

13.22 ^ 1.13

2.00 ^ 0.01

17.28 ^ 1.57

2.28 ^ 0.01

21.04 ^ 0.85

32

1.55 ^ 0.04

9.04 ^ 1.15

1.77 ^ 0.02

12.36 ^ 1.96

2.02 ^ 0.02

16.46 ^ 1.76

2.26 ^ 0.01

20.91 ^ 0.98

63

1.50 ^ 0.02

8.49 ^ 0.91

1.75 ^ 0.01

11.99 ^ 1.95

2.01 ^ 0.01

15.83 ^ 1.13

2.26 ^ 0.01

21.48 ^ 1.44

94

1.48 ^ 0.01

8.98 ^ 0.88

1.76 ^ 0.01

12.83 ^ 1.04

2.02 ^ 0.01

16.55 ^ 1.60

2.25 ^ 0.01

21.05 ^ 1.23

125

1.50 ^ 0.01

8.36 ^ 0.97

1.76 ^ 0.01

12.28 ^ 1.06

2.03 ^ 0.02

16.12 ^ 1.59

2.26 ^ 0.01

20.42 ^ 1.10

All (n ¼ 15,000)

1.50 ^ 0.03

8.81 ^ 1.03

1.76 ^ 0.02

12.54 ^ 1.55

2.02 ^ 0.02

16.45 ^ 1.62

2.26 ^ 0.01

20.98 ^ 1.19

All (n ¼ 5)

1.50 ^ 0.03

8.81 ^ 0.36

1.76 ^ 0.01

12.54 ^ 0.49

2.02 ^ 0.01

16.45 ^ 0.55

2.26 ^ 0.01

20.98 ^ 0.38

Briefs test number

1

1.45 ^ 0.01

45.01 ^ 1.74

1.75 ^ 0.01

61.45 ^ 1.96

2.01 ^ 0.01

84.30 ^ 3.14

2.23 ^ 0.01

106.3 ^ 4.82

2

1.48 ^ 0.01

43.20 ^ 1.66

1.75 ^ 0.01

61.43 ^ 2.29

2.03 ^ 0.00

83.95 ^ 3.11

2.25 ^ 0.01

108.3 ^ 3.00

3

1.50 ^ 0.00

44.72 ^ 2.00

1.76 ^ 0.01

61.94 ^ 2.23

2.06 ^ 0.01

88.05 ^ 3.61

2.25 ^ 0.01

109.1 ^ 3.14

4

1.52 ^ 0.01

45.22 ^ 1.46

1.77 ^ 0.01

66.27 ^ 1.84

2.06 ^ 0.01

84.79 ^ 2.05

2.27 ^ 0.01

109.1 ^ 2.84

5

1.55 ^ 0.02

46.35 ^ 1.34

1.78 ^ 0.01

68.58 ^ 1.98

2.06 ^ 0.01

91.97 ^ 2.07

2.30 ^ 0.01

108.0 ^ 2.60

All (n ¼ 15,000) All (n ¼ 5)

1.50 ^ 0.04 1.50 ^ 0.04

44.90 ^ 1.94 44.90 ^ 1.13

1.76 ^ 0.01 1.76 ^ 0.01

63.94 ^ 3.60 63.94 ^ 3.30

2.04 ^ 0.02 2.04 ^ 0.03

86.61 ^ 4.18 86.61 ^ 3.41

2.26 ^ 0.02 2.26 ^ 0.03

108.1 ^ 3.53 108.1 ^ 1.16

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Table V. Summary of swimmer test results (mean ^ s ).

Swimmer with briefs and support

Support only

Interference drag

Adjustment ratio

Swimmer only

n

Mean velocity (m/s)

Mean Force (N)

n

Mean velocity (m/s)

Mean Force (N)

Force (N)

Force (N)

Mean force (N)

5

1.501

44.90 ^ 1.94

5

1.50

8.81 ^ 0.36 12.54 ^ 0.49 16.45 ^ 0.55 20.98 ^ 0.38

3.38

0.94

37.19 ^ 0.88 51.66 ^ 1.63 70.04 ^ 1.89 88.08 ^ 1.59

5

1.761

63.94 ^ 3.60

5

1.76

4.53

0.92

5

2.045

86.61 ^ 4.18

5

2.02

5.85

0.92

5

2.260

108.1 ^ 3.53

5

2.26

7.41

0.93

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96 B. Bixler et al.

at 04:07 21 October 2014 96 B. Bixler et al. Figure 11. Drag force versus velocity

Figure 11. Drag force versus velocity for the swimmer, mannequin, and CFD model. The CFD and mannequin drag results are very similar, but both of them are approximately 18% less than the swimmer results. This is most probably due to the hand position and variable streamline position of the swimmer.

approximately 18% less than the drag of the swimmer at all velocities. This comparison is less satisfying, and will be evaluated further in the Discussion.

Discussion and implications

The excellent comparisons between the CFD test results and the mannequin test results validate both the chosen CFD techniques and the mannequin experimental set-up and procedure. In particular, the assumption in the CFD modelling that the flow is turbulent, rather than laminar, around the body appears to be confirmed by the close agreement with the mannequin test results. It should be noted, however, that although the forces from the mannequin tests and CFD models were within 4% of each other for this streamlined position, there may be other postures encountered during actual swimming where CFD models, as presently built, would not adequately predict the drag forces, without changing internal CFD modelling parameters. Future research should include creation of moving CFD models to evaluate active drag and assess this potential limitation. The comparisons between the mannequin drag and the real swimmer drag are less satisfying, with the difference being about 18%. This is not surprising, as it was difficult for the swimmer to hold consistently an optimal streamlined position throughout the tests. Indeed, a slight increase in angle of attack was noted as the water test velocity was increased. It is also certain that the position of the hands while holding the handle, as well as the handle itself, would have slightly increased the drag force of the swimmer above that of the mannequin, whose hands were streamlined with no handle present. One other difference between the mannequin and the swimmer is that the swimmer’s skin is flexible while the mannequin’s “skin” is rigid. However, recent research on the effect of a dolphin’s compliant skin on drag (Nagamine, Yamahata, Hagiwara, and Matsubara, 2004) indicates that compliant skin reduces drag, rather than increases it. Thus, human skin, which is quite flexible compared with dolphin skin, is an unlikely contributor to the increased drag of the swimmer over the mannequin. Finally, both the mannequin and CFD model have smooth surfaces relative to the human swimmer whose skin has some roughness. This smoothness is also partially responsible for the drag of the CFD model and the mannequin being lower than the drag of the actual swimmer.

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The principal implication of this study is that it demonstrates the validity of CFD analysis as a tool to examine the water flow around a submerged swimmer’s body. This form of analysis has opened a new avenue of research into the hydrodynamics of swimming and has been shown to hold promise as a way to assess the flow characteristics and associated drag forces experienced by swimmers. This study, although limited to passive drag, has been a novel and well-advised first step towards the ultimate goal of evaluating active drag. In addition to predicting total drag, CFD methods have provided a way to estimate the relative contributions of each drag component to the total drag. Future research can build upon these CFD and experimental results by analysing the passive drag of a swimmer on the water’s surface, and including wave drag in the

calculations. But the most obvious next step would be to evaluate underwater active drag while the swimmer is kicking. After that, kicking on the surface and then, finally, arm motion could be added. In addition, the development of roughness parameters for human skin would allow a more accurate CFD model to be built. As CFD methods continue to develop,

it will be possible to evaluate the effects of different techniques, body positions, and

swimwear on performance, thereby optimizing athletes’ performance.

Conclusion

Based on the results, we succeeded in achieving our aim of establishing a CFD model of a submerged human body subject to passive drag. In addition, we have demonstrated the accuracy of this model by comparing model results with “real-world” test results. Although the limitations of this study are recognized (no more than 15% of a swimmer’s race occurs in

a passive drag position underwater), it represents a necessary first step towards more

complicated analyses in which active drag is evaluated using CFD techniques, and where long-standing questions about swimming propulsion can be answered. In addition, the CFD technique was able to show how passive drag is affected by small changes in the angle of attack of a swimmer. Future passive drag work could evaluate the effects of posture changes on drag and determine the optimum streamlined position.

Acknowledgements

This research was supported by Speedo International and Fluent, Inc. The authors would like to thank Eve Davies of Speedo for her encouragement and helpful suggestions and also Dr. Keith Hanna of Fluent for his continuous support. Special thanks go to Neil George for some very creative laboratory and underwater improvisations.

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