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A review on insects flight aerodynamics, noise sources, and flow control mechanisms

Moslem, F., Babaie, Z., Masdari, M. ORCID: 0000-0002-1159-2406 & Fedir, K. (2023). A review on insects flight aerodynamics, noise sources, and flow control mechanisms. Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part G: Journal of Aerospace Engineering, 237(13), pp. 2907-2917. doi: 10.1177/09544100231169345


Wildlife always acts as an inspiration source for humans to help them study and mimic flight methods. Insects are one of the most important sources of biological systems’ inspiration to control flow and reduce aerodynamic noise. Insects are classified into different kinds, and most can fly by fluttering their wings. In general, insects’ flight muscles are divided into direct and indirect types that act synchronously and asynchronously with nerve impulses, respectively. These muscles help insects use a mixture of rotating, flapping, and pitching movements to achieve specific wing kinematics. Insects use various mechanisms for generating aerodynamic forces, including the Weis-Fogh or clap and fling mechanism, delayed stall due to unsteady motion (Wagner effect), wing rotation (Kramer effect), wake capture or wing–wake interaction, added mass, and absence of stall. On the other hand, the insect noises are divided into aerodynamic and structural. Insects’ aerodynamic noise is created by fluctuating forces, flow–solid interaction, shed vortex, and turbulence inflow. Meanwhile, insects’ structural noise is made by frictional and tymbal mechanisms. Their flow control methods are classified into two categories: wing shape and sub-structures. Wing shape features such as planform, chord length and location, twist, sweep, wingtip, and aspect ratio influence the flow around the insects. The sub-structures such as leading edge, trailing edge, swallowtail, and surface textures affect the flow too. A thorough understanding of insects’ fly, aerodynamic noise, and their control flow techniques will significantly help engineers to produce competitive products with better aerodynamic performance and aeroacoustic signature.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © IMechE 2023. Reuse is restricted to non-commercial and no derivative uses.
Publisher Keywords: Insects, aerodynamics, flight mechanisms, noise, flow control, 09 Engineering, 40 Engineering
Subjects: T Technology > TJ Mechanical engineering and machinery
Departments: School of Science & Technology
School of Science & Technology > Engineering
SWORD Depositor:
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