Some species of snakes are good gliders and can travel as far as 330 feet from a height of 15m through air at speeds of around 9-12m/s. They possess a unique and complex aerial locomotion compared to other species of gliders. During glide, the snake morphs its transverse body section into an airfoil-like shape. In addition, it undulates its body in a characteristic fashion. Understanding the change in shape of flying snake due to this undulation is vital for gliding and maneuvering during glide. Previous studies have explained the effects of 2-D shape. Earlier computational studies on a fixed 3-D wing inspired by the snakes have revealed favorable aerodynamic characteristics. In the current work undulation patterns of a representative snake geometry is modelled mathematically and numerically. The generated shape exhibits lot of similarity to experimentally observed ones. By adding the cross-section of the snake to this shape, the 3-D snake geometry at different instances of time during undulation can be generated. Three dimensional CFD study using ANSYS is performed on these shapes assuming quasi-steady flow. The computed average glide angle agrees well with experimental data. This shows promise for the undulatory model proposed. The current work throws a better understanding of the undulatory motion and may lead to advances in the development of unconventional Micro-Air Vehicles and Snake-Bots apart from biomimetics.
Viswesh Sujjur Balaramraja, S. Sankrityayan, E., Sivagurunathan, S. Coimbatore, Dr. Balajee Ramakrishnananda, and Rajesh Senthil Kumar T., “Modelling the Undulation Patterns of Flying Snakes”, International Conference on Advances in Computing. Communications and Informatics (ICACCI-2016), Jaipur, India, 2016.