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New 3D bat wing model could inspire next generation aircraft

February 28, 2019 / The Engineer

Bat wings bend, twist and deform in response to turbulent airflow, generating lift, thrust and other forces associated with flight. When a bat wing flaps, it forms little doughnut-shaped pockets of air known as vortex rings, expelled behind as the animal moves through the air. Modelling these and the bat’s other aerodynamic forces accurately has proved difficult until now.The new model, described as a variational aeroelastic framework for 3D turbulent flow and flexible multibody interaction, was developed by a team from the University of British Columbia and the National University of Singapore. According to the engineers behind it, the model captures the complexity of real-life bat flight dynamics and greatly improves on the simplified numerical models that currently exist. It is reported in the journal Computer & Fluids.