Aerodynamic experiments on DelFly II: Unsteady lift enhancement

K.M.E De Clercq, R de Kat, BDW Remes, BW van Oudheusden, H Bijl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Particle image velocimetry measurements and simultaneous force measurements have been performed on the DelFly II flapping-wing MAV, to investigate the flow-field behavior and the aerodynamic forces generated. For flapping wing motion it is expected that both the clap and peel mechanism and the occurrence of a leading edge vortex during the translational phase play an important role in unsteady lift generation. Furthermore, the flexibility of the wing foil is also considered of primary relevance. The PIV analysis shows a strong influx between the wings during the peel but no downward expelling jet during the clap. The force measurements reveal that the peel, oppositely to the clap, contributes significantly to the lift. The PIV visualization suggests the occurrence of a leading edge vortex during the first half of the in- and outstroke, which is supported by a simultaneous augmentation in lift. The early generation of a leading edge vortex during the flex cannot be assessed from the PIV images due to optical obstruction, but is likely to appear since the wing flexing is accompanied with a large increase in lift.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)255-262
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Micro Air Vehicles
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • Peer-lijst tijdschrift


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