Odor-Guided Flapping Flight: How do the flapping kinematics modulate the odor landscape?

June 08 11:00AM - June 08 12:00PM, 2022

08 June 11:00 - 08 June 12:00, 2022

Wednesday - Wednesday
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Abstract: Insects rely on their olfactory system for detecting food sources, prey, and mates. They can sense odors emitting from sources of their interest, use their highly efficient flapping-wing mechanism to follow odor trails, and track down odor sources. During such odor-guided navigation, flapping wings not only serve as propulsors for generating lift and maneuvering, but also actively draw odors to the antennae via wing-induced flow. This helps enhance olfactory detection, mimicking “sniffing” in mammals. However, the flow physics underlying this odor-tracking behavior is still unclear due to insects’ small wing size, fast flapping motion, and the unpredictability of their flying trajectories. Limited success has been achieved in evaluating the impact of wing-induced flow on odorant transport during odor-guided navigation. Utilizing an in-house computational fluid dynamics solver, we investigate the unsteady aerodynamics and olfactory sensitivities of insects in upwind surge motion. This study aims to advance our understanding of the odor-tracking capability of animal navigation and leads to transformative advancements in unmanned aerial devices that will have the potential to greatly impact national security equipment and industrial applications for chemical disaster, drug trafficking detection, and GPS-denied indoor environment. Presenter Bio: Dr. Chengyu Li is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Villanova University. He received his Ph.D. in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from the University of Virginia in 2016 and was a Postdoctoral Researcher at Ohio State University from 2016 to 2018. His research is situated at the intersection of fluid dynamics and computation with an emphasis on engineering and healthcare applications. In particular, he focuses on developing state-of-the-art computational methods that leverage mathematical models and numerical simulations to improve understanding of biological and physiological flows. Dr. Li’s research interests are in bio-inspired flow, unsteady aerodynamics, and odorant transport phenomena of animal olfaction. His interdisciplinary research was recognized with Polak Young Investigator Award by the Association for Chemoreception Sciences in 2017 and Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Award by Oak Ridge Associated Universities in 2019. He also received an NSF CAREER Award in 2021 for examining the fluid dynamic mechanisms of odor-guided flapping flight in nature.

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