Many insects are well adapted to long-distance migration despite the larger energetic costs of flight for small body sizes. To optimize wing design for next-generation flying micro-robots, we analyse butterfly wing shapes and wing orientations at full scale using numerical simulations and in a low-speed wind tunnel at 2, 3.5 and 5 m s−1. The results indicate that wing orientations which maximize wing span lead to the highest glide performance, with lift to drag ratios up to 6.28, while spreading the fore-wings forward can increase the maximum lift produced and thus improve versatility. We discuss the implications for flying micro-robots and how the results assist in understanding the behaviour of the butterfly species tested.
One contribution of 19 to a theme issue ‘Coevolving advances in animal flight and aerial robotics’.
- © 2016 The Author(s)
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