Elastic storage enables robustness of flapping wing dynamics

Xuefei Cai, Yujing Xue, Dmitry Kolomenskiy, Ru Xu, Hao Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Flying insects could perform robust flapping-wing dynamics under various environments while minimizing the high energetic cost by using elastic flight muscles and motors. Here we propose a fluid-structure interaction model that couples unsteady flapping aerodynamics and three-Torsional-spring-based elastic wing-hinge dynamics to determine passive and active mechanisms (PAM) in bumblebee hovering. The results show that a strategy of active-controlled stroke, passive-controlled wing pitch and deviation enables an optimal elastic storage. The flapping-wing dynamics is robust, which is characterized by dynamics-based passive elevation-rotation and aerodynamics-based passive feathering-rotation, capable of producing aerodynamic force while achieving high power efficiency over a broad range of wing-hinge stiffness. A force-impulse model further confirms the capability of external perturbation robustness under the PAM-based strategy.

Original languageEnglish
Article number045003
JournalBioinspiration and Biomimetics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2022


  • bumblebee
  • elastic storage
  • flapping-wing dynamics
  • flexible wing-hinge
  • fluid-structure interaction


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