The Royal Society
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Figure S2: from Power requirements for bat-inspired flapping flight with heavy, highly articulated and cambered wings

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journal contribution
posted on 2022-09-15, 12:01 authored by Xiaozhou Fan, Sharon Swartz, Kenneth Breuer
Bats fly with highly articulated and heavy wings. To understand their power requirements, we develop a three-dimensional reduced-order model, and apply it to flights of Cynopterus brachyotis, the lesser dog-faced fruit bat. Using previously measured wing kinematics, the model computes aerodynamic forces using blade element momentum theory, and incorporates inertial forces of the flapping wing using the measured mass distribution of the membrane wing and body. The two are combined into a Lagrangian equation of motion, and we performed Monte Carlo simulations to address uncertainties in measurement errors and modelling assumptions. We find that the camber of the armwing decreases with flight speed whereas the handwing camber is more independent of speed. Wing camber disproportionately impacts energetics, mainly during the downstroke, and increases the power requirement from 8% to 22% over flight speed U = 3.2–7.4 m s−1. We separate total power into aerodynamic and inertial components, and aerodynamic power into parasitic, profile and induced power, and find strong agreement with previous theoretical and experimental studies. We find that inertia of wings help to balance aerodynamic forces, alleviating the muscle power required for weight support and thrust generation. Furthermore, the model suggests aerodynamic forces assist in lifting the heavy wing during upstroke.


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