Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

M. Eng.


Mechanical Engineering

Committee Chair

Lian, Yongsheng




Previous experimental studies on static, bio-inspired corrugated wings have shown that they produce favorable aerodynamic properties such as delayed stall compared to streamlined wings and flat plates at high Reynolds numbers (Re = 4x104). The majority of studies have been carried out with scaled models of dragonfly forewings from the Aeshna Cyanea in either wind tunnels or water channels. In this thesis, the aerodynamics of a corrugated airfoil was studied using computational fluid dynamics methods at a low Reynolds number of 1000. Structural analysis was also performed using the commercial software SolidWorks 2009. The flow field is described by solving the incompressible Navier-Stokes equations on an overlapping grid using the pressure-Poisson method. The equations are discretized in space with second-order accurate central differences. Time integration is achieved through the second-order Crank-Nicolson implicit method. The complex vortex structures that form in the corrugated airfoil valleys and around the corrugated airfoil are studied in detail. Comparisons are made with experimental measurements from corrugated wings and also with simulations of a flat plate. Contrary to the studies at high Reynolds numbers, our study shows that at low Reynolds numbers the wing corrugation does not provide any aerodynamic benefit compared to a smoothed flat plate. Instead, the corrugated profile generates more pressure drag which is only partially offset by the reduction of friction drag, leading to more total drag than the flat plate. Structural analysis shows that the wing corrugation can increase the resistance to bending moments on the wing structure. A smoothed structure has to be three times thicker to provide the same stiffness. It was concluded the corrugated wing has the structural benefit to provide the same resistance to bending moments with a much reduced weight.