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Publiée le 07/04/11 à 12h46

Licence Creative Commons CC-By-NC

Flying animals have since long inspired admiration and fueled the imagination of scientists and engineers. Alongside biologists studying form and function of flapping flyers in nature the last decade has seen an impressive quantity of studies driven by engineering groups using new techniques to develop and study artificial biomimetic flapping flyers.
A recent field of investigation concerns the efficiency of flapping flyers, the major interrogation being about how natural systems optimize energy saving together with performance enhancement. In particular, the passive role of wing flexibility to increase flight efficiency through the bending of the wings while flapping has attracted a lot of attention. It is commonly agreed that this efficiency enhancement comes from the particular shape of the bent wing, which leads to a more favorable repartition of the aerodynamic forces. However, quantifying the amount of deformation is not sufficient to explain the performance enhancement that is observed; and the temporal evolution of the wing shape is also of critical importance.