ISSN Online: 2379-1748
7th Thermal and Fluids Engineering Conference (TFEC)
SJR: 0.152 SNIP: 0.14 CiteScore™:: 0.5
COMPENSATING BUMBLEBEE FLIGHT AERODYNAMICS DUE TO WING WEAR
Worker bees are an integral part of survival and lifespan of a beehive through foraging. The most important factor that influences mortality of worker bees is wing wear. Quick maneuvers during foraging to escape predators while carrying the extra weight of nectar may cause bees to impale their wings on hard or sharp vegetation or other obstacles found outside. Previous studies have shown bumblebees that exhibit wing wear must compensate by increasing their wing flapping frequency. The study presented here focuses on three possible wing wear patterns for a bumblebee. A full scan of a bumblebee (Bombus pensylvanicus) was used to obtain a morphologically accurate bee body and wing for a computational model. A full three-dimensional bee model with a body, healthy wings and a damaged wing was analyzed using computational fluid dynamics (CFD) to determine what would be the modified flapping frequency as compared to a bee with healthy wings and yield the same lift. The wing wear patterns were created by reducing the wingspan area between 15 to 29% and were modeled for hovering and forward speeds. CFD analyses showed that hovering was more aerodynamically challenging than forward flight conditions, which revealed a higher frequency requirement for all wing wear patterns. The poorly developed leading edge and tip vortices due to wing wear were contributing factors to the higher frequency requirement. The results indicated that the aerodynamic penalties due to wing wear were dependent on the location of the wear or damaged wing section.