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Proceedings Paper

Resonance versus aerodynamics for energy savings in agile natural flyers
Author(s): Jia Mink Kok; Javaan Chahl
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Paper Abstract

Insects are the most diverse natural flyers in nature, being able to hover and perform agile manoeuvres. Dragon- flies in particular are aggressive flyers, attaining accelerations of up to 4g. Flight in all insects requires demanding aerodynamic and inertial loads be overcome. It has been proposed that resonance is a primary mechanism for reducing energy costs associated with flapping flight, by storing energy in an elastic thorax and releasing it on the following half-stroke. Certainly in insect flight motors dominated by inertial loads, such a mechanism would be extremely beneficial. However in highly manoeuvrable, aerodynamically dominated flyers, such as the dragonfly, the use of elastic storage members requires further investigation. We show that employing resonant mechanisms in a real world configuration produces minimal energy savings that are further reduced by 50 to 133% across the operational flapping frequency band of the dragonfly. Using a simple harmonic oscillator analysis to represent the dynamics of a dragonfly, we further demonstrate a reduction in manoeuvring limits of ∼1.5 times for a system employing elastic mechanisms. This is in contrast to the potential power reductions of √2/2 from regulating aerodynamics via active wing articulation. Aerodynamic means of energy storage provides flexibility between an energy efficient hover state and a manoeuvrable state capable of large accelerations. We conclude that active wing articulation is preferable to resonance for aerodynamically dominated natural flyers.

Paper Details

Date Published: 8 March 2014
PDF: 9 pages
Proc. SPIE 9055, Bioinspiration, Biomimetics, and Bioreplication 2014, 905504 (8 March 2014); doi: 10.1117/12.2045030
Show Author Affiliations
Jia Mink Kok, Univ. of South Australia (Australia)
Javaan Chahl, Univ. of South Australia (Australia)
Defence Science and Technology Organisation (Australia)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 9055:
Bioinspiration, Biomimetics, and Bioreplication 2014
Akhlesh Lakhtakia, Editor(s)

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