Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
ISSN: 1303 - 2968   
Ios-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Androit-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
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©Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2009) 08, 58 - 66

Research article
Hydrodynamic analysis of different thumb positions in swimming
Daniel A. Marinho1,2,3, , Abel I. Rouboa3, Francisco B. Alves4, João P. Vilas-Boas5, Leandro Machado5, Victor M. Reis2,3, António J. Silva2,3
Author Information
1 University of Beira Interior. Department of Sport Sciences, UBI, Covilhã, Portugal
2 Centre of Research in Sports, Health and Human Development, CIDESD, Vila Real, Portugal
3 University of Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro. Department of Sport Sciences, UTAD, Vila Real, Portugal
4 Technical University of Lisbon. Faculty of Human Kinetics, FMH-UTL, Lisbon, Portugal
5 University of Porto. Faculty of Sport (FADEUP, Porto, Portugal

Daniel A. Marinho
✉ Universidade da Beira Interior, Departamento de Ciências do Desporto, Rua Marquês d'Ávila e Bolama. 6201-001 Covilhã, Portugal
Email: dmarinho@ubi.pt
Publish Date
Received: 17-10-2008
Accepted: 04-12-2008
Published (online): 01-03-2009
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ABSTRACT

The aim of the present study was to analyze the hydrodynamic characteristics of a true model of a swimmer hand with the thumb in different positions using numerical simulation techniques. A three-dimensional domain was created to simulate the fluid flow around three models of a swimmer hand, with the thumb in different positions: thumb fully abducted, partially abducted, and adducted. These three hand models were obtained through computerized tomography scans of an Olympic swimmer hand. Steady-state computational fluid dynamics analyses were performed using the Fluent® code. The forces estimated in each of the three hand models were decomposed into drag and lift coefficients. Angles of attack of hand models of 0°, 45° and 90°, with a sweep back angle of 0° were used for the calculations. The results showed that the position with the thumb adducted presented slightly higher values of drag coefficient compared with thumb abducted positions. Moreover, the position with the thumb fully abducted allowed increasing the lift coefficient of the hand at angles of attack of 0° and 45°. These results suggested that, for hand models in which the lift force can play an important role, the abduction of the thumb may be better, whereas at higher angles of attack, in which the drag force is dominant, the adduction of the thumb may be preferable.

Key words: Computational fluid dynamics, reverse engineering, hand, finger, drag, lift.


           Key Points
  • Numerical simulation techniques can provide answers to problems which have been unobtainable using experimental methods.
  • The computer tomography scans allowed the creation of a complete and true digital anatomic model of a swimmer hand.
  • The position with the thumb adducted presented slightly higher values of drag coefficient than the positions with the thumb abducted.
  • The position with the thumb fully abducted allowed increasing the lift coefficient of the hand at angles of attack of 0 and 45 degrees.
  • For hand positions in which the lift force can play an important role the abduction of the thumb may be better whereas at higher angles of attack, in which the drag force is dominant, the adduction of the thumb may be preferable for swimmers.
 
 
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