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Manduca sexta wings rotated in normal vs. low air density(Combes, 2002)

Fresh Manduca wings are mounted on a motor and rotated sinusoidally around one axis at a frequency of 26 Hz through a total amplitude of 110 degrees (similar to values of Manduca sexta in flight). To test wing motions in low air density, air is repeatedly removed from the box and replaced with helium until the box is filled with helium (approximately 15% air density).

How much of the bending in Manduca wings is caused by aerodynamic vs. inertial-elastic forces?

wing in normal air wing in helium (15% density)

Wings are filmed with Redlake high speed video cameras recording at 1000 frames/sec. Spanwise and chordwise bending are compared in normal air vs. helium by digitizing the position of several points on the wing. For further details, see Combes (2002).

Last updated on Tuesday, 22-Oct-2002 12:45:12 PDT. Send questions or comments to