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A Computational Study of Insect Wing Cross-Sectional Geometry on Flight Performance

[+] Author Affiliations
Jeffrey Feaster, Francine Battaglia, Javid Bayandor

Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA

Paper No. AJKFluids2015-4364, pp. V001T04A001; 9 pages
  • ASME/JSME/KSME 2015 Joint Fluids Engineering Conference
  • Volume 1: Symposia
  • Seoul, South Korea, July 26–31, 2015
  • Conference Sponsors: Fluids Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5721-2
  • Copyright © 2015 by ASME


The influence of cross-sectional geometry on flight performance is investigated for an insect wing using bee-like kinematics. Bee flight is of particular interest due to its mechanical simplicity, utilizing only three degrees of freedom, a high flap frequency, and mechanically linked front and hind wings. These unique flapping flight kinematics result in extremely agile flight characteristics, capable of carrying extraordinary loads relative to the bee’s weight, at a biologically capable efficiency. The performance of a corrugated insect wing and a more intuitively aerodynamic profile are compared computationally. At velocities from 1–3 m/s, the approximated cross-section is foudn to overpredict the lift generated by the corrugated profile by up to 18%. At higher velocities, 4 and 5 m/s, the approximated profile underpredicts the lift generated by the corrugated cross-section by 15%. Based upon this information the cross-sectional geometry of an insect’s wing is significant to the investigation and quantification of insect flight characteristics, for both computational analysis and future robotic applications.

Copyright © 2015 by ASME
Topics: Geometry , Wings , Flight



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