Effect of rotational phase on the flow topology of a flapping flat-plate wing

Swathi Krishna, Karen Mulleners, Melissa A. Green

Research output: Chapter in Book/Entry/PoemConference contribution


The flight performance of insects can be attributed in part to the generation and main­tenance of a stable leading edge vortex, which is achieved by manipulating the wing kine­matics. Along with the prolonged attachment of the leading edge vortex during translation of the wing, the rotational motion at the end of the stroke is also critical as it helps the wing to maintain a positive angle of attack. The unsteady flow fields generated in the rotation stage of the motion are integral to maintaining force production. Phase-averaged data from particle image velocimetry are used to study the effects of advancement or delay in the rotational phase of a flapping wing on the flow characteristics. A topological study is conducted using Lagrangian vortex detection techniques in order to characterize the shear layer formation, vortex interactions and flow separation. The Lagrangian analysis includes the calculation of the finite time Lyapunov exponent based on particle trajectory behaviour. The timing between the rotational phase of the wing and the time-varying yaw velocity is a primary causes for distinct vortex dynamics observed in the cases of sym­metric, advanced, and delayed rotation. The leading edge vortex remains attached until the end of each half-stroke in the advanced rotation, whereas in symmetric rotation, the vortex gradually detaches from the the leading edge before the end of the half-stroke. The kinematics of the delayed rotation case allow the build up of a leading edge vortex twice in each stroke.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication54th AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting
PublisherAmerican Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Inc, AIAA
ISBN (Print)9781624103933
StatePublished - 2016
Event54th AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting, 2016 - San Diego, United States
Duration: Jan 4 2016Jan 8 2016

Publication series

Name54th AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting


Other54th AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting, 2016
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Diego

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aerospace Engineering


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