Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Committee Chair

Chang-kwon Kang

Committee Member

James E. Bluman

Committee Member

Farbod Fahimi

Committee Member

Gang Wang

Committee Member

Zachary Culumber


Animal flight--Simulation methods, Unsteady flow (Aerodynamics)


Flying insects, with their remarkable abilities, serve as fascinating sources of inspiration. Deciphering the complex mechanisms that enable monarch butterflies to migrate nearly 80 million times their body length, requires advanced modeling tools. These tools must capture the interplay between non-linear wing aerodynamics, dynamic body responses, and flexible wings, characteristics of the monarch. A novel framework is introduced that tightly integrates these physical phenomena through a dynamic relaxation scheme. The model’s application extends to examining the longitudinal flight of monarch butterflies and the hovering flight of fruit flies, bumblebees, and hawkmoths. A bio-inspired feedback controller ensures stable flight across all cases. This is the first instance where a simulated free-to-pitch butterfly achieves sustained flight, aligning with experimental observations. The simulation reveals that precisely timed wing flapping generates inertial torques, facilitating periodic body pitch motion. This framework can enhance our understanding of the extraordinary flight capabilities exhibited by both large and small flying insects



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