Dragonfly (Sympetrum flaveolum) flight: Kinematic measurement and modelling

Y. H. Chen, M. Skote, Y. Zhao, W. M. Huang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)


The kinematics of the flapping hindwing of the dragonfly Sympetrum flaveolum is investigated. Several tracking points along the leading edge and trailing edge of the hindwing are recorded and studied using high-speed videography. By applying more tracking points along the leading edge around the nodus, it is shown that the leading edge is not one rigid piece, but two pieces hinged at the nodus with physical constraint of forty degrees. Such arrangement also eases the difficulties in rotating the wing during pronation by bending the leading edge forward and flattening the wing. From the kinematic experiments, two flapping patterns of the dragonfly wing are revealed as a simple figure-eight and a double figure-eight flapping pattern. Kinematic modelling of the two flapping patterns is then established by transforming the flapping motions into angular rotations about the pivoting wing root in a local body-fixed spherical coordinate system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)115-126
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Fluids and Structures
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2013


  • Dragonfly flight
  • Flapping trajectory
  • Nodus mobility
  • Wing kinematics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanical Engineering


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