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Partitioned Method of Insect Flapping Flight for Maneuvering Analysis

Minato Onishi1, Daisuke Ishihara1,*
1 Kyushu Institute of Technology, 680-4 Kawazu, Iizuka Fukuoka, 820-8502, Japan.
* Corresponding Author: Daisuke Ishihara. Email:

Computer Modeling in Engineering & Sciences 2019, 121(1), 145-175.


This study proposed a partitioned method to analyze maneuvering of insects during flapping flight. This method decomposed the insect flapping flight into wing and body subsystems and then coupled them via boundary conditions imposed on the wing’s base using one-way coupling. In the wing subsystem, the strong coupling of the flexible wings and surrounding fluid was accurately analyzed using the finite element method to obtain the thrust forces acting on the insect’s body. The resulting thrust forces were passed from the wing subsystem to the body subsystem, and then rigid body motion was analyzed in the body subsystem. The rolling, yawing, and pitching motions were simulated using the proposed method as follows: In the rolling simulation, the difference of the stroke angle between the right and left wings caused a roll torque. In the yawing simulation, the initial feathering angle in the right wing only caused a yaw torque. In the pitching simulation, the difference between the front- and back-stroke angles in both the right and left wings caused a pitch torque. All three torques generated maneuvering motion comparable with that obtained in actual observations of insect flight. These results demonstrate that the proposed method can adequately simulate the fundamental maneuvers of insect flapping flight. In the present simulations, the maneuvering mechanisms were investigated at the governing equation level, which might be difficult using other approaches. Therefore, the proposed method will contribute to revealing the underlying insect flight mechanisms.


Insect flapping flight, maneuverability, fluid-structure interaction, partitioned method, projection method, strongly coupled method, one-way coupling, finite element method

Cite This Article

Onishi, M., Ishihara, D. (2019). Partitioned Method of Insect Flapping Flight for Maneuvering Analysis. CMES-Computer Modeling in Engineering & Sciences, 121(1), 145–175.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License , which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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