Parameter study of simplified dragonfly airfoil geometry at reynolds number of 6,000

David Elie Levy, Avraham Seifert

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


Effective aerodynamics at Reynolds numbers lower than 10,000, is of great technological interest and a fundamental scientific challenge. At these Reynolds numbers, the natural insect flight could provide inspiration for technology development of Micro UAV's and more. Insect wings are typically characterized by corrugated airfoils. The present study follows a fundamental flow physics study (Levy and Seifert, 2009), that revealed the importance of flow separation from the first corrugation, the roll-up of the separated shear-layer to discrete vortices and their role in promoting flow reattachment to the aft arc, as the leading mechanism enabling high-lift, low drag performance of the Dragonfly gliding flight. This paper describes the effect of systematic airfoil geometry variations on the aerodynamic properties of a simplified Dragonfly airfoil at Reynolds number of 6,000. The parameter study includes a detailed analysis of small variations of the nominal geometry, such as corrugation placement or height, rear arc and trailing edge shape. Numerical simulations using the 2D laminar Navier-Stokes equations revealed that the flow accelerating over the first corrugation slope is followed by an unsteady pressure recovery, combined with vortex shedding. The latter allows the reattachment of the flow over the rear arc. Also, the drag values are directly linked to the vortices' magnitude. This parametric study shows that geometric variations which reduce the vortices' amplitude, as reduction of the rear cavity depth or the reduction of the rear arc and trailing edge curvature, will reduce the drag values. Other changes will extend the flow reattachment over the rear arc for a larger mean lift coefficients range; such as the negative deflection of the forward flat plate. These changes consequently reduce the drag values at higher mean lift coefficients. The detailed geometry study enabled the definition of corrugated airfoil geometry with enhanced aerodynamic properties, such as range and endurance factors, as compared to the nominal airfoil studied intensively in the literature.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication50th Israel Annual Conference on Aerospace Sciences 2010
PublisherTechnion Israel Institute of Technology
Number of pages29
ISBN (Print)9781617380839
StatePublished - 2011
Event50th Israel Annual Conference on Aerospace Sciences 2010 - Tel-Aviv and Haifa, Israel
Duration: 17 Feb 201018 Feb 2010

Publication series

Name50th Israel Annual Conference on Aerospace Sciences 2010


Conference50th Israel Annual Conference on Aerospace Sciences 2010
CityTel-Aviv and Haifa


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