Computational Study of Flexible Wing Ornithopter Flight Conference Paper uri icon


  • The aerodynamic forces produced by a flapping wing ornithopter are simulated using a Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) based methodology and compared with experimental data. The wing deformations which correspond to the experimental data were obtained from optical sensor measurements. An efficient grid deformation algorithm is devised which deforms the body-conforming volume grid at each time step consistent with the measured wing motions. The CFD analysis code solves the compressible Reynolds Averaged form of the Navier Stokes equations on a structured curvilinear grid. Correlation with test data shows good agreement with measured vertical force and satisfactory agreement with measured horizontal force at low flapping frequency. However, the prediction accuracy degrades with increase in flapping frequency. Evidence of resonance in the vehicle system was detected from the analysis of the experimental data. Unmodeled inertial effects from the vehicle body and support mounts may be one of the contributors to disagreement between data and analysis.

author list (cited authors)

  • Roget, B., Sitaraman, J., Harmon, R., Grauer, J., Hubbard, J., & Humbert, S.

citation count

  • 24

publication date

  • November 2009