Journal of Bionic Engineering

, Volume 15, Issue 2, pp 298–312 | Cite as

Unsteady Aerodynamic Forces and Power Consumption of a Micro Flapping Rotary Wing in Hovering Flight

  • Chao Zhou
  • Yanlai Zhang
  • Jianghao Wu


The micro Flapping Rotary Wing (FRW) concept inspired by insects was proposed recently. Its aerodynamic performance is highly related to wing pitching and rotational motions. Therefore, the effect of wing pitching kinematics and rotational speed on unsteady aerodynamic forces and power consumption of a FRW in hovering flight is further studied in this paper using computational fluid dynamics method. Considering a fixed pitching amplitude (i.e., 80°), the vertical force of FRW increases with the downstroke angle of attack and is enhanced by high wing rotational speed. However, a high downstroke angle of attack is not beneficial for acquiring high rotational speed, in which peak vertical force at balance status (i.e., average rotational moment equals zero.) is only acquired at a comparatively small negative downstroke angle of attack. The releasing constraint of pitching amplitude, high rotational speed and enhanced balanced vertical force can be acquired by selecting small pitching amplitude despite high power consumption. To confirm which wing layout is more power efficient for a certain vertical force requirement, the power consumed by FRW is compared with the Rotary Wing (RW) and the Flapping Wing (FW) while considering two angle of attack strategies without the Reynolds number (Re) constraint. FRW and RW are the most power efficient layouts when the target vertical force is produced at an angle of attack that corresponds to the maximum vertical force coefficient and power efficiency, respectively. However, RW is the most power efficient layout overall despite its insufficient vertical force production capability under a certain Re.


micro air vehicle flapping rotary wing aerodynamic forces power consumption computational fluid dynamics 


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This research was primarily supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant number: 11672022).


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Copyright information

© Jilin University 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Transportation Science and EngineeringBeihang UniversityBeijingChina

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