Journal of Mechanical Science and Technology

, Volume 33, Issue 6, pp 2725–2735 | Cite as

Numerical investigation of the aerodynamic benefits of wing-wing interactions in a dragonfly-like flapping wing

  • A. R. Shanmugam
  • C. H. SohnEmail author


Numerical simulations are performed to investigate the aerodynamic benefits of wing-wing interactions on a dragonfly-like flapping wing while hovering, at a value of Reynolds number Re set to 630. The local phase shift ψ and wing spacing L* (L/c) are varied to observe their influence on aerodynamic performance. The results show that the aerodynamic benefits due to interactions are strongly dependent on both ψ and L*. The wing-wing interactions are beneficial for the in-phase stroking pattern at ψ = 0° when 1.2 ≤ L* ≤ 2.3, while it is extremely detrimental for the counter stroking pattern at ψ = 180° when 1.2 ≤ L* ≤ 2.3; these benefits and drawbacks are dependent on the timing of the interactions. The best case, when ψ = 0° and L* = 2.1, can increase the time-averaged vertical force coefficient \(\overline{C_v}\) up to ∼10 % in comparison to the without-interaction case. Two unsteady flow features namely the “enhanced dipole structure” and the “in-sync of wake capture and wing-wing interactions” are observed that increase the vertical force generation in hovering dragonflies. The overall downward momentum imparted by the wing is larger for ψ = 0° in comparison to ψ = 180° as the wake has high vertical velocities due to the constructive role played by wing-wing interactions.


Dragonflies Flapping wing Insect flight Tandem Wing-wing interactions 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.



This work was supported by the Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Education [NRF-2017R1 D1A1B03032472].


  1. [1]
    R. A. Norberg, Hovering flight of the dragonfly Aeschna juncea L., kinematics and aerodynamics, Swimming and Flying in Nature, Springer, Boston, MA (1975) 763–781.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. [2]
    A. Azuma, S. Azuma, I. Watanabe and T. Furuta, Flight mechanics of a dragonfly, Journal of Experimental Biology, 116 (1) (1985) 79–107.Google Scholar
  3. [3]
    C. P. Ellington, The aerodynamics of hovering insect flight. VI. Lift and power requirements, Philosophical Transactions of Royal Society of London B, 305 (1122) (1984) 145–181.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. [4]
    A. Choudhry, R. Leknys, M. Arjomandi and R. Kelso, An insight into the dynamic stall lift characteristics, Experimental Thermal and Fluid Science, 58 (2014) 188–208.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. [5]
    M. H. Dickinson, F. O. Lehmann and S. P. Sane, Wing rotation and the aerodynamic basis of insect flight, Science, 284 (5422) (1999) 1954–1960.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. [6]
    W. B. Tay, Effect of different types of wing-wing interactions in flapping MAVs, Journal of Bionic Engineering, 14 (1) (2017) 60–74.MathSciNetCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. [7]
    J. A. Walker, Rotational lift: Something different or more of the same?, Journal of Experimental Biology, 205 (24) (2002) 3783–3792.Google Scholar
  8. [8]
    D. E. Alexander, Unusual phase relationships between the forewings and hindwings in flying dragonflies, Journal of Experimental Biology, 109 (1) (1984) 379–383.Google Scholar
  9. [9]
    M. Yamamoto and K. Isogai, Measurement of unsteady fluid dynamic forces for a mechanical dragonfly model, AIAA Journal, 43 (12) (2005) 2475–2480.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. [10]
    Z. J. Wang and D. Russell, Effect of forewing and hind-wing interactions on aerodynamic forces and power in hovering dragonfly flight, Physical Review Letters, 99 (14) (2007) 148101.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. [11]
    Z. Hu and X. Y. Deng, Aerodynamic interaction between forewing and hindwing of a hovering dragonfly, Acta Mechanica Sinica, 30 (6) (2014) 787–799.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. [12]
    Y. Zheng, Y. Wu and H. Tang, An experimental study on the forewing-hindwing interactions in hovering and forward flights, International Journal of Heat and Fluid Flow, 59 (2016) 62–73.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. [13]
    Z. J. Wang, The role of drag in insect hovering, Journal of Experimental Biology, 207 (23) (2004) 4147–4155.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. [14]
    S. K. Jones, R. Laurenza, T. L. Hedrick, B. E. Griffith and L. A. Miller, Lift vs. drag based mechanisms for vertical force production in the smallest flying insects, Journal of Theoretical Biology, 384 (2015) 105–120.CrossRefzbMATHGoogle Scholar
  15. [15]
    L. Shilong and S. Mao, Aerodynamic force and flow structures of two airfoils in flapping motions, Acta Mechanica Sinica, 17 (4) (2001) 310–331.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. [16]
    J. K. Wang and M. Sun, A computational study of the aerodynamics and forewing-hindwing interaction of a model dragonfly in forward flight, Journal of Experimental Biology, 208 (19) (2005) 3785–3804.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. [17]
    C. T. Hsieh, C. F. Kung, C. C. Chang and C. C. Chu, Unsteady aerodynamics of dragonfly using a simple wing-wing model from the perspective of a force decomposition, Journal of Fluid Mechanics, 663 (2010) 233–252.MathSciNetCrossRefzbMATHGoogle Scholar
  18. [18]
    S. N. Gadde and S. Vengadesan, Lagrangian coherent structures in tandem flapping wing hovering, Journal of Bionic Engineering, 14 (2) (2017) 307–316.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. [19]
    Z. J. Wang, Two dimensional mechanism for insect hovering, Physical Review Letters, 85 (10) (2000) 2216.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. [20]
    C. T. Hsieh, C. C. Chang and C. C. Chu, Revisiting the aerodynamics of hovering flight using simple models, Journal of Fluid Mechanics, 623 (2009) 121–148.MathSciNetCrossRefzbMATHGoogle Scholar
  21. [21]
    N. Gravish, J. M. Peters, S. A. Combes and R. J. Wood, Collective flow enhancement by tandem flapping wings, Physical Review Letters, 115 (18) (2015) 188101.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. [22]
    P. Ma, Z. Yang, Y. Wang, H. Liu and Y. Xie, Energy extraction and hydrodynamic behavior analysis by an oscillating hydrofoil device, Renewable Energy, 113 (2017) 648–659.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© KSME & Springer 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Mechanical EngineeringKyungpook National UniversityDaeguKorea

Personalised recommendations