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BioMed Research International
Volume 2013, Article ID 140487, 14 pages
Research Article

Computational Fluid Dynamics Study of Swimmer's Hand Velocity, Orientation, and Shape: Contributions to Hydrodynamics

1Department of Mechanical Engineering, Kaunas University of Technology, LT-44029 Kaunas, Lithuania
2Mechatronics Centre for Research, Studies and Information, Kaunas University of Technology, LT-44029 Kaunas, Lithuania
3Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Tras-os-Montes and Alto Douro, 5001-801 Vila Real, Portugal
4Centre of Research in Sports, Health and Human Development, CIDESD, 5001-801 Vila Real, Portugal
5Department of Sport Sciences, Exercise and Health, University of Tras-os-Montes and Alto Douro, 5001-801 Vila Real, Portugal
6Department of Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA

Received 18 October 2012; Accepted 17 January 2013

Academic Editor: Giuseppe Spinella

Copyright © 2013 Milda Bilinauskaite et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The aim of this paper is to determine the hydrodynamic characteristics of swimmer’s scanned hand models for various combinations of both the angle of attack and the sweepback angle and shape and velocity of swimmer's hand, simulating separate underwater arm stroke phases of freestyle (front crawl) swimming. Four realistic 3D models of swimmer's hand corresponding to different combinations of separated/closed fingers positions were used to simulate different underwater front crawl phases. The fluid flow was simulated using FLUENT (ANSYS, PA, USA). Drag force and drag coefficient were calculated using (computational fluid dynamics) CFD in steady state. Results showed that the drag force and coefficient varied at the different flow velocities on all shapes of the hand and variation was observed for different hand positions corresponding to different stroke phases. The models of the hand with thumb adducted and abducted generated the highest drag forces and drag coefficients. The current study suggests that the realistic variation of both the orientation angles influenced higher values of drag, lift, and resultant coefficients and forces. To augment resultant force, which affects swimmer's propulsion, the swimmer should concentrate in effectively optimising achievable hand areas during crucial propulsive phases.