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Girl Geek Dinner #5 • Hester Bijl • Flying Lessons from a Fly

21 August 2014

Hester Bijl

Date: Tuesday, 21 April, 2009
Time: 7-11 PM
Location: Flexbar (Pazzanistraat 1, Amsterdam)
Cost: 22.50 Euros (buffet dinner, excluding drinks)

The Flexbar is located on the Westergasfabriek terrain.


Flies are true acrobats in the air. They can hover and even fly backwards! Therefore, for our development of small, flapping, aircraft we can learn a lot from them.

One of the activities in my research group is to simulate air flow around flapping wings in order to better understand the performance of insect flight. Approximating the solution to the physical flow equations with mathematical techniques, we can compute flight performance quantities, such as lift and drag. Since these are time and memory space intensive computations, efficiency is of utmost importance.

With the insights obtained from analyzing the flow solution of the simulation, we hope to contribute to the design of Delfly Micro – a tiny flapping micro air vehicle developed at the faculty of Aerospace Engineering of Delft University of Technology. Delfly Micro is the smallest in the Delfly series. While the original Delfly has a 20 cm wing span, Delfly Micro only has 5 cm wing span. Due to the small wings aerodynamic performance is very important.

Speaker Bio

Prof.dr.drs.ir. Hester Bijl is full professor Computational Aerodynamics at the Faculty of Aerospace Engineering of Delft University of Technology. She studied Applied Math in Delft, as well as English in Leiden. After her studies she decided to become a PhD-student in Delft, developing a new method for the computation of flows with both high and low speeds regions. After her PhD she worked a little less than two years as management consultant for The Boston Consulting Group. Since October 1999 she works at the Aerospace Engineering faculty in Delft, starting as assistant professor. In april 2006 she was appointed full professor – the first female professor at the Aerospace Engineering Faculty of the TU Delft. As department chair, Hester now is a member of the management team of the Faculty. She has a partner and two sons (6 and 7 years old).

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