Flapping insect wings frequently collide with vegetation and other obstacles during flight. Repeated collisions may irreversibly damage the insect wing, thereby compromising the insect’s ability to fly. Further, reaction torques caused by the collision may destabilize the insect and hinder its ability to maneuver. To mitigate the adverse effects of impact, some insect wings are equipped with a flexible joint called a “costal break.” The costal break buckles once it exceeds a critical angle, which is believed to improve flight stability and prevent irreversible wing damage. However, to our knowledge, there are no models to predict the dynamics of the costal break. Through this research, we develop a simple model of an insect wing with a costal break. The wing was modeled as two beams interconnected by a torsional spring, where the stiffness of the torsional spring instantaneously decreases once it has exceeded a critical angle. We conducted a series of static tests to approximate model parameters. Then, we used numerical simulation to estimate the peak stresses and reaction moments experienced by the wing during a collision. We found that costal break increased the wing’s natural frequency by about 50% compared to a homogeneous wing and thus reduced the stress associated with normal flapping. Buckling did not significantly affect peak stresses during collision. Joint buckling reduced the peak reaction moment by about 32%, suggesting that the costal break enhances flight stability.

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