This paper numerically studies the flow dynamics of aerial undulation of a snake-like model, which is adapted from the kinematics of the flying snake (Chrysopelea) undergoing a gliding process. The model applies aerial undulation periodically in a horizontal plane where a range of angle of attack (AOA) is assigned to model the real gliding motion. The flow is simulated using an immersed-boundary-method-based incompressible flow solver. Local mesh refinement mesh blocks are implemented to ensure the grid resolutions around the moving body. Results show that the undulating body produces the maximum lift at 45° of AOA. Vortex dynamics analysis has revealed a series of vortex structures including leading-edge vortices (LEV), trailing-edge vortices, and tip vortices around the body. Changes in other key parameters including the undulation frequency and Reynolds number are also found to affect the aerodynamics of the studied snake-like model, where increasing of undulation frequency enhances vortex steadiness and increasing of Reynolds number enhances lift production due to the strengthened LEVs. This study represents the first study of both the aerodynamics of the whole body of the snake as well as its undulatory motion, providing a new basis for investigating the mechanics of elongated flexible flyers.

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