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Using reverse engineering and computational fluid dynamics to investigate a lower arm amputee swimmer's performance

Lecrivain, Gregory and Slaouti, Arezki and Payton, Carl J. and Kennedy, Ian (2008) Using reverse engineering and computational fluid dynamics to investigate a lower arm amputee swimmer's performance. Journal of biomechanics, 41 (13). pp. 2855-2859. ISSN 1873-2380

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Abstract

In front crawl swimming, the hand and the corresponding forearm generate major propulsive forces. Such forces have been studied largely through experimental tests and more recently through the use of steady computational fluid dynamics (CFD). However, the effect of the upper arm on the propulsive forces has generally not been taken into consideration. An understanding of such forces is fundamental for the performance of swimmers who have an arm amputation at the level of the elbow. This study introduces the great potential offered by the multidisciplinary approach combining reverse engineering and unsteady CFD in a novel dynamic and interactive way. A complex CFD mesh model, representing the swimmer body and its upper arm, is produced. The model, including the arm rotation and a body roll movement, interacts dynamically with the fluid flow. Forces generated by the upper arm can then be investigated in great detail. In this particular study, it is found that the upper arm effectively contributes to the propulsion of the body. The propulsive force was numerically computed throughout the pull and reaches maxima of 8 N. Results obtained in this study could be extended in a similar way to any other limb movement within a fluid flow.

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