Kinematics and Inertial Effects in Locust Flapping Wings

S. Shkarayev, R. Kumar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


In the present study, inertial forces and kinematics of wings of locusts, Schistocerca americana, were investigated experimentally. The developed experimental setup includes freshly extracted hindwings and forewings, a mechanical transmission producing pitching and flapping, a vacuum chamber, and a high-speed video system. Flapping angle amplitudes determined at the middle section are practically the same in air and in vacuum in both forewings and hindwings. Pitching amplitudes in the root and in the middle section of hindwing differ by up to 50 % due to torsional deformation or twist. In air, the average twist angles are 3° and 17° in forewings and hindwings, respectively. Amplitudes of twist angle are higher in vacuum, especially at relatively high flapping frequencies. Inertial forces are calculated based on a rigid-body model of a wing with prescribed displacements. The 5-segment mesh for hindwings and 2-segment mesh for forewings provide accurate determination of inertial forces. Amplitudes of the fifth harmonic in accelerations in air are substantially smaller than in vacuum and, therefore, inertial forces in air are about 30 % smaller than those in vacuum. Thus, aerodynamic loads suppressed high-frequency component in wing oscillations resulting in substantially smaller inertial forces in air.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)245-258
Number of pages14
JournalExperimental Mechanics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2016


  • Air
  • Flapping
  • Inertial force
  • Locust
  • Pitching
  • Vacuum
  • Wings

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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