Wednesday, 22. May 2019

Numerical simulation of insect flight maneuvers

For a long time the free-flight of insects is of interest for physicists and biologists. But in spite of the recent progress in experimental and computational aerodynamics, so far no technique exists to reliable predict or measure the complex physical phenomena taking place during insect flapping flight. Contemporary studies of the insect flight performance reveal sophisticated mechanism of generation of the aerodynamic forces, which can be considered as an interactive combination of delayed stall, rotational circulation, wake capture and generation of leading edge vortices. Some aspects of the theory have been examined numerically in simplified 2D or in full 3D unsteady simulations using the Chimera technique. In order to study the aerodynamics of the free-flight of insects we solve the Navier-Stokes equations in arbitrary Lagrangian-Eulerian (ALE) formulation which allow to simulate the generation of flow structures in the vicinity of flapping wings and during free-flight maneuvers.

The visualization of the experimental data: trajectories of some points of the fruit-fly during free flight maneuver.  The complicated folded lines are produced by the points located at the tips and the trailing edge of the wings.


3D view of the pressure distribution obtained in Direct Numerical Simulations (DNS) of a simplified fruit-fly model.


Dr. Andrey Shishkin
German Aerospace Center (DLR)
Institute of Aerodynamics and Flow Technology, Department Ground Vehicles
Phone: +49 551 709-2980

German Aerospace Center (DLR), Institute of Aerodynamics and Flow Technology, SCART
Bunsenstraße 10, 37075 Göttingen, Germany