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Simulated motions of flexible, flapping wings (Combes and Daniel, 2001)

The movies on this page were created with an equation that can be used to simulate flapping flight with flexible wings or fins for a variety of animals. Wing flexibility is specified by the speed of a wave traveling backwards on the wing (the lower the wave speed, the more flexible the wing). Planform wing shape can be specified by adjusting the distribution of chord lengths along the span of the wing - here we have used rectangular wings with a constant, low chord length (high aspect ratio) or with a constant, high chord length (low aspect ratio). These simulated motions can be used to calculate thrust production and aerodynamic efficiency based on wing shape, wing flexibility, and kinematics (Wu, 1971; Daniel, 1987; Combes and Daniel, 2001).
high aspect ratio, high wave speed high aspect ratio, low wave speed
low aspect ratio, high wave speed low aspect ratio, low wave speed
Last updated on Tuesday, 22-Oct-2002 14:33:02 PDT. Send questions or comments to