Free flight of a numerical butterfly

Tightly coupled simulation of a Monarch butterfly model. White dotted lines represent the trajectories observed from real Monarch butterflies. In the numerical model the Navier-Stokes equations are solved around the flapping wings, which are attached to the body with a torsional spring. The body dynamics equations of motion are solved that are influenced by and, at the same time, influences the unsteady aerodynamics and the torsional spring dynamics. Only the flapping amplitude is imposed on the wings. The wing and body rotations are purely passive. The resulting trajectory is an outcome of the combined dynamics.

Marsbee research featured on NASA 360

Monarch butterfly research featured in WHNT19

FYFD Interview on Marsbees at APS Division of Fluid Dynamics 2017

3D Reconstruction of a Monarch butterfly in free flight

3D Body trajectory and wing motions of a Monarch butterfly

3D Body trajectory of a Monarch butterfly

Chordwise wing motion of a Monarch butterfly

Vorticity contours around a purely plunging chordwise flexible airfoil in forward flight

Vortical structures around a flapping low aspect ratio wing in a tunnel