Journal of Bionic Engineering

, Volume 15, Issue 4, pp 661–672 | Cite as

Morphology Effects of Leading-edge Serrations on Aerodynamic Force Production: An Integrated Study Using PIV and Force Measurements

  • Teruaki Ikeda
  • Tetsuya Ueda
  • Toshiyuki Nakata
  • Ryusuke Noda
  • Hiroto Tanaka
  • Takeo Fujii
  • Hao LiuEmail author


While the leading-edge serration in owls’ wing is known to be responsible for low noise gliding and flapping flights, the findings on its aero-acoustic role have been diverse or even controversial. Here we present an experimental study of the morphological effects of leading-edge serrations on aerodynamic force production by utilizing owl-inspired, single-feather, clean and serrated wing models with different serration lengths and spacing, and by combining Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV) and force measurements. Force measurements show that an increase in the length and density of the leading-edge serrations leads to a reduction in the lift coefficient and lift-to-drag ratio at Angles of Attack (AoAs) < 15° whereas the clean and serrated wings achieve comparable aerodynamic performance at higher AoAs > 15°, which owl wings often reach in flight. Furthermore PIV visualization of the flow fluctuations demonstrates that the leading-edge serration-based mechanism is consistent in all serrated wing models in terms of passive control of the laminar-turbulent transition while at AoAs > 15° similar suction flow is present at leading edge resulting in a comparable aerodynamic performance to that of the clean wing. Our results indicate the robustness and usefulness of leading-edge serration-inspired devices for aero-acoustic control in biomimetic rotor designs.


biomimetic leading-edge serrations low-speed wind tunnel particle image velocimetry aerodynamic force laminar-turbulent transition 


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This study was partially supported by an endowed project by Teral Inc., Japan. Hao Liu and Toshiyuki Nakata were partly supported by the Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research on Innovative Areas (No. 24120007), the JSPS, and the Tough Robotics Challenge - Impulsing Paradigm Change through Disruptive Technologies Program (Cabinet Office, Government of Japan), JST. Chen Rao acknowledges the financial support from a Japanese Government MEXT scholarship. Special thanks are extended to the Yamashina Institute for Ornithology for providing the feathers of an Ural owl.


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Copyright information

© Jilin University 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Teruaki Ikeda
    • 1
    • 2
  • Tetsuya Ueda
    • 1
  • Toshiyuki Nakata
    • 1
  • Ryusuke Noda
    • 1
  • Hiroto Tanaka
    • 3
  • Takeo Fujii
    • 2
  • Hao Liu
    • 1
    • 4
    Email author
  1. 1.Graduate School of EngineeringChiba UniversityChibaJapan
  2. 2.TERAL Inc.HiroshimaJapan
  3. 3.School of EngineeringTokyo Institute of TechnologyTokyoJapan
  4. 4.Shanghai Jiao Tong University and Chiba University International Cooperative Research Centre (SJTU-CU ICRC)ShanghaiChina

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