Resonance of flexible flapping wings at low Reynolds number.

Physical review. E, Statistical, nonlinear, and soft matter physics

PubMedID: 20866319

Masoud H, Alexeev A. Resonance of flexible flapping wings at low Reynolds number. Phys Rev E Stat Nonlin Soft Matter Phys. 2010;81(5 Pt 2):056304.
Using three-dimensional computer simulations, we examine hovering aerodynamics of flexible planar wings oscillating at resonance. We model flexible wings as tilted elastic plates whose sinusoidal plunging motion is imposed at the plate root. Our simulations reveal that large-amplitude resonance oscillations of elastic wings drastically enhance aerodynamic lift and efficiency of low-Reynolds-number plunging. Driven by a simple sinusoidal stroke, flexible wings at resonance generate a hovering force comparable to that of small insects that employ a very efficient but much more complicated stroke kinematics. Our results indicate the feasibility of using flexible wings driven by a simple harmonic stroke for designing efficient microscale flying machines.