Numerical Study of Flapping Wings


  • Understand nonlinear coupling and physics of the unsteady aerodynamics, structural dynamics and flight dynamics associated with biological flight of insects, birds, and bats
  • Manipulate the multi-disciplinary physical phenomena to meet desired performance characteristics, e.g. lift, thrust, and power
  • Apply knowledge of the relevant fluid physics and structural dynamics to Micro-Air Vehicle design





  • Importance of kinematics on the resulting flow structures to enhance lift generation for flapping wing flight
  • Enhanced aerodynamic performance due to suitable wing deformations and its scaling relationships
  • Detailed comparisons and validations against experiments to assess numerical and experimental uncertainties

Future Work

  • Universal aeroelastic scaling: flying vs swimming
  • Benefits of anisotropic wing structures
  • Formulation of analytical models

Experimental Investigation of Butterfly Flight

  1. Sridhar, M. K., and Kang, C., “Aerodynamic Performance of Two-Dimensional, Chordwise Flexible Flapping Wings at Fruit Fly Scale in Hover
  2. Flight,” Bioinspiration & Biomimetics, Vol. 10, Nr. 3, 2015, p. 036007.
  3. Kang, C., and Shyy, W., “Analytical model for instantaneous lift and shape deformation of an insect-scale flapping wing in hover,” Journal of Royal Society Interface, Vol 11, 2014, pp. 20140933
  4. Kang, C. and Shyy, W., Scaling law and enhancement of lift generation of an insect-size hovering flexible wing,” Journal of Royal Society Interface, Vol. 10 no. 85, 2013
  5. Kang, C., Aono, H., Baik, Y.S., Bernal, L.P., and Shyy, W., “Fluid Dynamics of Pitching and Plunging Flat Plate at Intermediate Reynolds Numbers," AIAA Journal, Vol. 51, No. 2, pp. 315-329, 2013
  6. Kang, C., Aono, H., Cesnik, C.E.S., and Shyy, W., “Effects of Flexibility on the Aerodynamic Performance of Flapping Wings,” Journal of Fluid Mechanics, Vol. 689, pp. 32 - 74, 2011