On the shape optimization of flapping wings and their performance analysis

Mehdi Ghommem, Nathan Collier, Antti H. Niemi, Victor M. Calo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


The present work is concerned with the shape optimization of flapping wings in forward flight. The analysis is performed by combining a gradient-based optimizer with the unsteady vortex lattice method (UVLM). We describe the UVLM simulation procedure and provide the first methodology to select properly the mesh and time-step sizes to achieve invariant UVLM simulation results under mesh refinement. Our objective is to identify a set of optimized shapes that maximize the propulsive efficiency, defined as the ratio of the propulsive power over the aerodynamic power, under lift, thrust, and area constraints. Several parameters affecting flight performance are investigated and their impact is described. These include the wingÊ1/4s aspect ratio, camber line, and curvature of the leading and trailing edges. This study provides guidance for shape design of engineered flying systems. © 2013 Elsevier Masson SAS.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)274-292
Number of pages19
JournalAerospace Science and Technology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aerospace Engineering


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