UMR 5672

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Improving the performance of a flapping wing

Sophie Ramananarivo (Courant Institute, New York University)
When Mar 19, 2015
from 10:45 AM to 12:00 PM
Where Centre Blaise Pascal
Attendees Sophie Ramananarivo
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Birds and fish both move in a fluid by flapping wings (or fins).  Through those cyclic movements, the animal imparts momentum to the surrounding flow and creates a jet that propels it forward. The strength of this jet is very sensitive to the characteristics of the wings (shape, flexibility) and the flapping motion; which means in particular, that by tuning those carefully, propulsive performance can be improved.

The first part of this seminar will focus on how flexibility can affect flight performance. Bird or insect wings are elastic, and thus likely to experiment large bending. Using a simplified mechanical replica of an insect, we will show that wing passive deformations can considerably improve propulsion when exploited in a constructive way.

In a second part, we will look at what the geometrical shape of a fast-flying wing should look like? Inspired by the way solutions emerged in nature through evolution, we will address this search for “good shapes” through a semi-experimental/semi-numeric process mimicking natural selection.

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