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Title: Quasi three-dimensional deformable blade element and unsteady vortex lattice reduced-order modeling of fluid–structure interaction in flapping wings

Flapping, flexible insect wings deform under inertial and fluid loading. Deformation influences aerodynamic force generation and sensorimotor control, and is thus important to insect flight mechanics. Conventional flapping wing fluid–structure interaction models provide detailed information about wing deformation and the surrounding flow structure, but are impractical in parameter studies due to their considerable computational demands. Here, we develop two quasi three-dimensional reduced-order models (ROMs) capable of describing the propulsive forces/moments and deformation profiles of flexible wings. The first is based on deformable blade element theory (DBET) and the second is based on the unsteady vortex lattice method (UVLM). Both rely on a modal-truncation based structural solver. We apply each model to estimate the aeromechanics of a thin, flapping flat plate with a rigid leading edge, and compare ROM findings to those produced by a coupled fluid dynamics/finite element computational solver. The ROMs predict wing deformation with good accuracy even for relatively large deformations of 25% of the chord length. Aerodynamic loading normal to the wing's rotation plane is well captured by the ROMs, though model errors are larger for in-plane loading. We then perform a parameter sweep to understand how wing flexibility and mass affect peak deflection, mean lift and average power. All models indicate that flexible wings produce less lift but require lower average power to flap. Importantly, these studies highlight the computational efficiency of the ROMs—compared to the convention modeling approach, the UVLM and DBET ROMs solve 4 and 6 orders of magnitude faster, respectively.

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Publisher / Repository:
American Institute of Physics
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Physics of Fluids
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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