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Fluids 2018, 3(2), 44;

Leaky Flow through Simplified Physical Models of Bristled Wings of Tiny Insects during Clap and Fling

School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Oklahoma State University, 218 Engineering North, Stillwater, OK 74078-5016, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 30 March 2018 / Revised: 31 May 2018 / Accepted: 13 June 2018 / Published: 19 June 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bio-inspired Flow)
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In contrast to larger flight-capable insects such as hawk moths and fruit flies, miniature flying insects such as thrips show the obligatory use of wing–wing interaction via “clap and fling” during the end of upstroke and start of downstroke. Although fling can augment lift generated during flapping flight at chord-based Reynolds number (Re) of 10 or lower, large drag forces are necessary to clap and fling the wings. In this context, bristles observed in the wings of most tiny insects have been shown to lower drag force generated in clap and fling. However, the fluid dynamic mechanism underlying drag reduction by bristled wings and the impact of bristles on lift generated via clap and fling remain unclear. We used a dynamically scaled robotic model to examine the forces and flow structures generated during clap and fling of: three bristled wing pairs with varying inter-bristle spacing, and a geometrically equivalent solid wing pair. In contrast to the solid wing pair, reverse flow through the gaps between the bristles was observed throughout clap and fling, resulting in: (a) drag reduction; and (b) weaker and diffuse leading edge vortices that lowered lift. Shear layers were formed around the bristles when interacting bristled wing pairs underwent clap and fling motion. These shear layers lowered leakiness of flow through the bristles and minimized loss of lift in bristled wings. Compared to the solid wing, peak drag coefficients were reduced by 50–90% in bristled wings. In contrast, peak lift coefficients of bristled wings were only reduced by 35–60% from those of the solid wing. Our results suggest that the bristled wings can provide unique aerodynamic benefits via increasing lift to drag ratio during clap and fling for Re between 5 and 15. View Full-Text
Keywords: bristled wings; clap and fling; tiny insects; leakiness; flapping flight; biorobotics bristled wings; clap and fling; tiny insects; leakiness; flapping flight; biorobotics

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Kasoju, V.T.; Terrill, C.L.; Ford, M.P.; Santhanakrishnan, A. Leaky Flow through Simplified Physical Models of Bristled Wings of Tiny Insects during Clap and Fling. Fluids 2018, 3, 44.

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