All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Roy P Koomullil

Advisory Committee Members

Chih-Hsiung Cheng

Jong-Eun Kim

Nathan Prewitt

Robert Nichols

Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name by School

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) School of Public Health


For centuries, the agility and maneuverability of flying insects have been an inspiration to fluid dynamists. A large number of research activities have been conducted within the biological, aerodynamics, and computational science communities to understand the complex flow fields around flapping insects and their capability for rapid maneuvers. However, the understanding of these natural phenomena is still in its infancy. Recent experimental flow visualizations have shown the complex vortical structures around flapping wings and vortex interactions. Even with the advent of faster and better computer processors and improved numerical algorithms, computational fluid dynamics (CFD) techniques to accurately predict flow features around flapping wings lag behind. One of the driving forces for the study of insect flight is its applicability for micro-air vehicles (MAVs). Micro Air Vehicles (MAVs) have potential uses for surveillance, communication, hostage rescue missions, and sensor placement for chemical, biological, and nuclear materials. However, technical challenges such as small scale power generation, navigation, propulsion, and most importantly production of necessary aerodynamics forces have hindered the advancement of this technology and the routine use of MAVs. The most effective way to generate aerodynamic forces for such applications is by the use of flapping wings. Different components that are needed for the analysis and prediction of aerodynamic behavior of flapping wing flight are evaluated in this study. These components include: (a) library-based approach for adding overset capability to handle large relative motion between different objects. This approach encapsulates data transfer across multiple layers of mesh; and (b) use of generalized mesh for handling complex geometries. Different interpolation methods for the transfer of information across different layers of generalized overset meshes are evaluated. The effect of primitive vs. conservative interpolation of flow variable is evaluated using a moving discontinuity across the overlapping region. Also, a preliminary study has been conducted to couple the developed flow simulation system with the FSI library developed at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. The focus of the research work is to explore various approaches for moving body problems and to investigate the developed computational system for its applicability and exploration for aerodynamic analysis of flapping wing flight.

Included in

Public Health Commons



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