Inflected wings in flight: Uniform flow of stresses makes strong and light wings for stable flight

J Theor Biol. 2021 Jan 7;508:110452. doi: 10.1016/j.jtbi.2020.110452. Epub 2020 Aug 20.


Flying animals morph and flex their wings during their flight. Their wings morph with the turbulent flow created around them. The wings of modern airplanes do not have this ability. In this study we show that the ability to flex the wings leads to greater stability (higher flutter speed), and that this is due to the more uniform distribution of stresses in the flexing wing. This way the flexing wing becomes the lightest per unit of flapping force, or the strongest per unit of weight.

Keywords: Design; Flow of stresses; Flutter; Inflected wing.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Flight, Animal*
  • Mechanical Phenomena
  • Models, Biological
  • Wings, Animal*