|Decoupling wing-shape effects of wing-swept angle and aspect ratio on a forward-flying butterfly
Lin, You Jun
|Physical Review E
The effect of wing shape on a forward-flying butterfly via decoupled factors of the wing-swept angle and the aspect ratio (AR) was investigated numerically. The wing-shape effect is a major concern in the design of a microaerial vehicle (MAV). In nature, the wing of a butterfly consists of partially overlapping forewing and hindwing; when the forewing sweeps forward or backward relative to the hindwing, the wing-swept angle and the AR of the entire wing simultaneously change. The effects of the wing-swept angle and AR on aerodynamics are coupled. To decouple their effects, we established wing-shape models with varied combinations of the wing-swept angle and AR based on the experimental measurement of two butterfly species (Papilio polytes and Kallima inachus) and developed a numerical simulation for analysis. In each model, the forewing and hindwing overlapped partially, constructing a single wing. Across the models, the wing-swept angle and AR of these single wings varied sequentially. The results show that, through our models, the effects of the wing-swept angle and AR were decoupled; both have distinct flow mechanisms and aerodynamic force trends and are consistent in the two butterfly species. For a fixed AR, a backward-swept wing increases lift and drag because of the enhanced attachment of the leading-edge vortex with increased strength of the wingtip vortex and the spanwise flow. For a fixed wing-swept angle, a small AR wing increases lift and decreases drag because of the large region of low pressure downstream and the wake-capture effect. Coupling these effects, the largest lift-to-drag ratio occurs for a forward-swept wing with the smallest AR. These results indicate that, in a flapping forward flight, sweeping a forewing forward relative to a hindwing is suitable for cruising. The flow mechanisms and decoupled and coupled effects of the wing-swept angle and the AR presented in this paper provide insight into the flight of a butterfly and the design of a MAV.
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