Tiny insects clap and fling with flexible wings

11 Jul 2018, 16:30
New Law School/--100 (University of Sydney)

New Law School/--100

University of Sydney

Oral Presentation Minisymposium: Modelling the Neuromechanics of Swimming, Flying and Pumping Systems Modelling the neuromechanics of swimming, flying and pumping systems


Michael Senter (University of North Carolina)


Very small insects that are 1 mm in length or less, such as thrips and fairyflies, often clap their wings together at the end of each upstroke and fling them apart at the beginning of each downstroke. This 'clap and fling' motion augments the lift forces generated during flight, but very large forces are required to clap the wings together and to fling the wings apart. As the opposing forces acting normal to each wing nearly cancel during the fling, these large forces do not have a clear aerodynamic benefit. In this presentation, a standard and a elastic version of the 3D immersed boundary method is used to simulate clap and fling at the low Reynolds numbers characteristic of the smallest insects (Re<10).

Primary authors

Michael Senter (University of North Carolina) Dr Laura Miller (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)

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