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Revisiting the aerodynamics of hovering flight using simple models

  • CHENG-TA HSIEH (a1) (a2), CHIEN C. CHANG (a1) (a2) and CHIN-CHOU CHU (a1)


In this study, we revisit two simplified models of hovering motion for fruit fly and dragonfly from the perspective of force decomposition. The unsteady aerodynamics are analysed by examining the lift force and its four constituent components, each of which is directly related to a physical effect. These force components include one from the vorticity within the flow, one from the surface vorticity and two contributions credited to the motion of the insect wing. According to the phase difference in the models, a hovering motion can be classified into one of three types: symmetric, advanced and delayed rotations. The relative importance of the force components under various flow conditions are carefully analysed. It is shown that the symmetric rotation has the maximum vorticity lift (from volume and surface vorticity), but the optimal average lift is attained for an advanced rotation, which, compared to the symmetric rotation, increases the force contribution due to the unsteady surface motion at the expense of sacrificing contribution from the vorticity. By identifying the variations of the vorticity lift with flow characteristics, we may further explore the detailed mechanisms associated with the unsteady aerodynamics at different phases of hovering motion. For the different types of rotation, the insect wing shares the same mechanism of gaining lift when in the phase of driving with a fuller speed but exhibits different mechanisms at turning from one phase of motion to another. Moreover, we also examine the effects of the Reynolds number in an appropriate range and evaluate the performance of different wing profiles from symmetric to largely cambered.


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Revisiting the aerodynamics of hovering flight using simple models

  • CHENG-TA HSIEH (a1) (a2), CHIEN C. CHANG (a1) (a2) and CHIN-CHOU CHU (a1)


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