Flight stability of wedges

Pejman Sanaei, Guanhua Sun, Huilin Li, Charles S. Peskin, Leif Ristroph

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Recent experiments have shown that cones of intermediate apex angles display orientational stability with apex leading in flight. Here we show in experiments and simulations that analogous results hold in the two-dimensional context of solid wedges or triangular prisms in planar flows at Reynolds numbers Re∼102 to 103. Slender wedges are statically unstable with apex leading and tend to flip over or tumble, and broad wedges oscillate or flutter due to dynamical instabilities, but those of apex half angles between about 40° and 55° maintain stable posture during flight. The existence of “Goldilocks” shapes that possess the “just right” angularity for flight stability is thus robust to dimensionality. We also show that the stability is robust to moderate changes in shape and Reynolds number.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number103218
JournalJournal of Fluids and Structures
StatePublished - Feb 2021


  • Flight stability
  • Fluid–structure interaction
  • Immersed boundary method
  • Orientational stability
  • Postural stability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanical Engineering


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