The fundamental aeroelastic effect of the corrugation of an insect-sized simple flapping wing is numerically investigated. A baseline model for a corrugated flapping wing is constructed such that the balance among the aerodynamic, elastic, and inertial forces acting on the wing matches that acting on insect wings in accordance with the measured material properties of insect wings. The thickness of the corrugated airfoil and the amplitude of corrugation are systematically varied around the baseline to modulate both the natural frequencies and mode shapes. Unsteady aeroelastic simulation based on three-dimensional Naiver–Stokes equations is conducted for the corrugated flapping wings. The numerical simulation is validated by measuring the natural frequency and mean lift of corrugated flapping wings. The results indicate that the corrugation of insect flapping wings is aeroelastically effective in providing both an appropriate passive deformation and a lightweight wing. To maximize the hovering efficiency, the optimal amplitude of corrugation is 1.7 to 2.6% of the chord length, the wing mass ratio is 0.7 to 1.5, and the natural frequency is 2.1 to 2.6 times as large as the input flapping frequency. These optimal design parameters are close to (but slightly smaller than) those of insect wings.
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