3D Numerical Simulation of a Hovering Hummingbird-inspired Flapping Wing with Dynamic Morphing

Document Type : Regular Article


School of Aeronautics, Northwestern Polytechnical University, Xi’an 710072, PR China



Three-dimensional numerical simulations are performed to examine the effects of dynamic wing morphing of a hummingbird-inspired flexible flapping wing on its aerodynamic performance in hovering flight. The range analysis and variation analysis in the orthogonal experiment are conducted to assess the significance level of various deformations observed in the hummingbird wings on wing aerodynamic performance. It has been found that both camber and twist significantly can affect lift, and twist has an even higher significant impact on lift efficiency. Spanwise bending, whether out-of-stroke-plane or in-stroke-plane, has a negligible impact on lift and efficiency, and the in-stroke-plane bending can cause lift to decrease to an extent. Optimal parameters for determining the wing deformations are selected and tested to validate the conclusions drawn in the analysis for the results in orthogonal experiment. Through a comparison study between the optimized wings and the rigid wing, it is found that although the wing flexibility can cause the net force to decrease, the flexible wing used less energy to bring the net force closer to the vertical direction, thereby improving the lift efficiency. This study provides an aerodynamics understanding of the efficiency improvement of the hummingbird-inspired flexible flapping wing.


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