Flow Field of Flapping Monarch and Swallowtail Butterfly-like Wings

Sutthiphong Spot Srigrarom


This paper presents a part of our ongoing development of a butterfly-like ornithopter (flapping wing) micro-aerial vehicle (MAV). Two kinds of butterfly were selected for studies: Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) and Swallowtail butterfly (Papilio troilus)). The Monarch butterfly is well-known for its ability for long distance migratory flight. The Monarch butterfly is well-known for its high agility. It is also selected as baseline for comparison. The Swallowtail butterfly has unique tails (streamers) at the trailing edge of its hind wings. For both types of butterfly, the flow physics show that during free flights, they use a variety of unconventional aerodynamic mechanisms to generate force: wake capture, two different types of leading-edge vortex, active and inactive upstrokes. Free-flying butterflies often used different aerodynamic mechanisms in successive strokes. For Swallowtail butterflies, the streamer appears to help their flight more stable, by aligning the wake vortices behind its hind wings. The subsequent horse-shoes vortices also help create more vortex lift. For flexible wing, the result from fluid-structure interaction shows that the swallowtail butterfly deflect more than Monarch butterfly.

Full Text:



A.K. Brodsky, Vortex formation in the tethered flight of the Peacock Butterfly Inachis Io L. (Lepidoptera, Nymphalidae) and some aspects of insect flight evolution, J. Exp. Biology, Vol.161, p.77-95, 1991

S.J. Steppan, Flexural stiffness patterns of butterfly wings (Papilionoidea), J. of Research on the Lepidoptera, Vol.35, pp.61-77, 1996 (2000)

K. Senda, M. Sawamoto, T. Shibahara and T. Tanaka, Study on flapping-of-wings flight of butterfly with experimental measurement, AIAA paper no. 2004-5368

H. Tanaka, K. Hoshino, M. Matsumoto, Flight dynamics of a butterfly-type ornithopter, Intelligent Robots, IEEE, 2005

P. Sterry & A. Mackay, Pocket Nature: Butterflies and Moths, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds , Doring Kindersley, UK, ISBN: 978-1-4053-4995-6, 2004

W. Shyy, H. Anono, S.K. Chimakurthi, P.Trizila, C.-K. Kang, C.E.S. Cesnik and H. Liu, Recent Progress in Flapping Wing Aerodynamics and Aeroelasticity, Progress in Aerospace Sciences, Vol.46, pp. 284-327, 2010 CrossRef

Wikipedia, "Insect Wing", http://en.wikipedia.org, accessed on August 30, 2013

K.V. Rozhdestvensky, V.A. Ryzhov, Aerohydrodynamics of Flapping-Wing Propulsors, Progress in Aerospace Sciences, Vo.29, Pp.585-633, 2003 CrossRef

Srigrarom, S. (2013). Flow Field of Flapping Albatross-like Wing and Sound Generation at Low Reynolds Number. Journal Of Unmanned System Technology, 1(2), 69-72

Yang, L., Huang, H., Liou, J., Esakki, B., & Candrasekhar, U. (2014). 2D Quasi-Steady Flow Simulation of an Actual Flapping Wing. Journal Of Unmanned System Technology, 2(1), 10-16

Moelyadi, M., Priyanto, D., & Sachs, G. (2014). Simulation of Flexible Flapping Wing of a Bird in Producing Thrust. Journal Of Unmanned System Technology, 2(2), 62-69

Chan, W., Bin Jaffar, M., & Nguyen, Q. (2014). Preliminary Study on Stability of a Hovering Bi-flap Flapping Wing Platform using Cycle-Averaged Linear Models. Journal Of Instrumentation, Automation And Systems, 1(3), 84-90

Tambunan, I., Sitorus, P., Putra, H., Ko, J., Park, H., & Kang, T. (2014). Pitch Oscillation Control of Hydroplane in Dual System of Lab-scale Flapping Type Tidal Energy Harvester. Journal Of Instrumentation, Automation And Systems, 1(3), 91-96

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.21535%2Fjust.v3i1.196


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.