Digital Image Correlation of Flapping Wings for Micro-Technologies
ARMY RESEARCH LAB ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND MD VEHICLE TECHNOLOGY DIRECTORATE
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The unpredictable, and therefore inherently dangerous, situations warfighters experience have created a demand for advanced environmental knowledge of impending threats. Small, stealthy, and versatile micro-technologies have great potential in this area and can provide autonomous reconnaissance and nonlethal protection while either crawling or flying. One particular challenge with flying systems is designing a lightweight vehicle while maintaining critical function performance. This project focuses on using digital image correlation software and high-speed cameras to analyze lightweight flapping wings for micro-system use. To understand the parametric design space, a design of experiments is created, varying wing span, chord, shape, and spar count. Then the wings are manufactured using a three-dimensional printer and thin plastic sheeting. A custom-made load cell measures the thrust and lift of the speckled wings, which are mounted on and powered by a bimorph actuator. The stereo setup assesses the wings speckle pattern and measures the change in light intensity, which correlates to wing structure movement or deformation. This enables the calculation of important wing parameter trends, including strain, position, velocity, and acceleration. Computational modeling verifies these results while identifying design features that enhance flight performance and support a lightweight and efficient micro-system design.
- Pilotless Aircraft