Journal of theoretical biology | 23 Oct 2012
H Salehipour and DJ Willis
A new computational model based on an optimal power, wake-only aerodynamics method is presented to predict the interdependency of energetics and kinematics in bird and bat flight. The model is divided into offline, intermediate and online modules. In the offline module, a four-dimensional design space sweep is performed (lift, thrust, flapping amplitude and flapping frequency). In the intermediate stage, the physical characteristics of the animal are introduced (wing span, mass, wing area, aspect ratio, etc.), and a series of amplitude-frequency response surfaces are constructed for all viable flight speeds. In the online component, the amplitude-frequency response surfaces are mined for the specific flapping motions being considered. The method is applied to several biological examples including a medium sized fruit bat (Cynopterus brachyotis), and two birds: a thrush nightingale (Luscinia luscinia) and a budgerigar (Melopsittacus undulatus). For each of these animals, the power and kinematics predictions are compared with available experimental data. These examples demonstrate that this new method can reasonably predict animal flight energetics and kinematics.
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