Traditional studies of insect flight involve either building numerical models or performing Reynolds number matched, scaled-up experiments. However, it is difficult to study passive fluid-wing interactions using these approaches. I integrated at-scale flapping-wing experiments and high-fidelity numerical simulations to investigate the influence of wing flexure stiffness on passive wing pitching. These studies lead to 36% improvement of vehicle maximum payload. Further, my simulations and experiments revealed remarkable similarities of flapping propulsion in air and in water under different operating frequencies.
See below for a summarizing video: