Aerodynamic and inertial forces and corresponding kinematics of flapping wings of locusts, Schistocerca americana, were investigated in a low-speed wind tunnel. The experimental setup included live locusts mounted on microbalance synchronized with a high-speed video system. Simultaneous measurements of wing kinematics and forces were carried out on three locusts at 7° angle of attack and velocities of 0 m s(-1) and 4 m s(-1). Time variations of flapping and pitching angles exhibit similar patterns in fore- and hindwings and among the animals. Significant tip to root variations in pitching angle are found in both wings. The locusts have much larger flapping and pitching amplitudes in still air causing larger oscillations in inertial forces. Inertial forces are added to the lift and thrust on one part of the stroke, resulting in higher reaction forces and subtracted on the other part. Plots of the lift demonstrate similar trends with and without the wind. The global maxima and peak-to-peak amplitudes in lift are about the same in both tests. However, local minima are significantly lower in still air, resulting in much smaller stroke-averaged lift. Amplitudes of thrust force oscillations are much higher in still air; consequently, the stroke-averaged thrust is higher compared to the non-zero freestream velocity case.
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