A quasi-steady aerodynamic model for flapping flight with improved adaptability

Y. J. Lee, Kim-Boon Lua*, T. T. Lim, K. S. Yeo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations


An improved quasi-steady aerodynamic model for flapping wings in hover has been developed. The purpose of this model is to yield rapid predictions of lift generation and efficiency during the design phase of flapping wing micro air vehicles. While most existing models are tailored for a specific flow condition, the present model is applicable over a wider range of Reynolds number and Rossby number. The effects of wing aspect ratio and taper ratio are also considered. The model was validated by comparing against numerical simulations and experimental measurements. Wings with different geometries undergoing distinct kinematics at varying flow conditions were tested during validation. Generally, model predictions of mean force coefficients were within 10% of numerical simulation results, while the deviations in power coefficients could be up to 15%. The deviation is partly due to the model not taking into consideration the initial shedding of the leading-edge vortex and wing-wake interaction which are difficult to account under quasi-steady assumption. The accuracy of this model is comparable to other models in literature, which had to be specifically designed or tuned to a narrow range of operation. In contrast, the present model has the advantage of being applicable over a wider range of flow conditions without prior tuning or calibration, which makes it a useful tool for preliminary performance evaluations.

Original languageEnglish
Article number036005
JournalBioinspiration and Biomimetics
Issue number3
StatePublished - 27 Apr 2016


  • added mass
  • flapping wing
  • MAV
  • quasi-steady aerodynamic model
  • Rossby number
  • rotational lift


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