Evolutionary shape optimisation enhances the lift coefficient of rotating wing geometries

Shantanu S. Bhat, Jisheng Zhao, John Sheridan, Kerry Hourigan, Mark C. Thompson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Wing shape is an important factor affecting the aerodynamic performance of wings of monocopters and flapping-wing micro air vehicles. Here, an evolutionary structural optimisation method is adapted to optimise wing shape to enhance the lift force due to aerodynamic pressure on the wing surfaces. The pressure distribution is observed to vary with the span-based Reynolds number over a range covering most insects and samaras. Accordingly, the optimised wing shapes derived using this evolutionary approach are shown to adjust with Reynolds number. Moreover, these optimised shapes exhibit significantly higher lift coefficients than the initial rectangular wing forebear. Interestingly, the optimised shapes are found to have a large area outboard, broadly in line with the features of high-lift forewings of multi-winged insects. According to specific aerodynamic performance requirements, this novel method could be employed in the optimisation of improved wing shapes for micro air vehicles.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)369-384
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Fluid Mechanics
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jun 2019


  • Swimming/flying

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