On the Mechanics of Flight of Small Insects

  • Arnold M. Kuethe


A mechanism is proposed for the generation of lift and propulsive forces by small insects with deeply fringed wings. The fringes, composed of bristles (setae) projecting from the margins of the wings, form sheets in which waves generated by the beating of the wings will propagate in spanwise and chordwise directions. Extrapolation of measurements of pressure drops in flow through inclined gauze sheets to the very low Reynolds numbers of insect flight indicate that the wave motion can generate lift forces many times those achievable by airfoils at the same Reynolds numbers.


Pressure Drop Circular Cylinder Wing Length Force Coefficient Solidity Ratio 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1975

Authors and Affiliations

  • Arnold M. Kuethe
    • 1
  1. 1.University of MichiganAnn ArborUSA

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