Abstract: Micro air vehicles (MAVs) have the potential to revolutionize our sensing and information gathering capabilities in areas such as environmental monitoring and homeland security. Flapping wings with suitable wing kinematics, wing shapes, and flexible structures can enhance lift as well as thrust by exploiting large-scale vortical flow structures under various conditions. However, the scaling invariance of both fluid dynamics and structural dynamics as the size changes is fundamentally difficult. The focus of this review is to assess the recent progress in flapping wing aerodynamics and aeroelasticity. It is realized that a variation of the Reynolds number (wing sizing, flapping frequency, etc.) leads to a change in the leading edge vortex (LEV) and spanwise flow structures, which impacts the aerodynamic force generation. While in classical stationary wing theory, the tip vortices (TiVs) are seen as wasted energy, in flapping flight, they can interact with the LEV to enhance lift without increasing the power requirements. Surrogate modeling techniques can assess the aerodynamic outcomes between two- and three-dimensional wing. The combined effect of the TiVs, the LEV, and jet can improve the aerodynamics of a flapping wing. Regarding aeroelasticity, chordwise flexibility in the forward flight can substantially adjust the projected area normal to the flight trajectory via shape deformation, hence redistributing thrust and lift. Spanwise flexibility in the forward flight creates shape deformation from the wing root to the wing tip resulting in varied phase shift and effective angle of attack distribution along the wing span. Numerous open issues in flapping wing aerodynamics are highlighted.
... read more