A Comprehensive Study of Aeroelasticity in Flapping-Wing MAVs
Final rept. 1 Mar 2009-31 May 2012
HARVARD UNIV CAMBRIDGE MA SCHOOL OF ENGINEERING AND APPLIED SCIENCES
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All insect wings possess some degree of anisotropic compliance. Typically this is evident as a pronounced bending compliance along the chord-wise direction relative to the span-wise direction. The function of this feature is unknown does this compliance arise as a biomaterial limitation or is this indicative of advantages in terms of propulsive efficiency or maneuverability This proposal aims to answer this question while simultaneously developing design rules for the airfoils of high performance flapping-wing micro air vehicles. To date, numerical studies of flapping wings have been hindered by the overwhelming computational expense of solving the Navier-Stokes equations for an oscillating system with distributed compliance. Instead, we will pursue a highly empirical approach which leverages the facilities and expertise of the Harvard Microrobotics Lab. In previous research we have established the capability to create artificial insect wings with well defined mechanical properties. We have also created design and fabrication paradigms which enable the construction of wing drive mechanisms at the scale and wing-beat frequency of insects. We use these techniques to perform at-scale experiments on a variety of wings chosen to span appropriate parameter spaces in the overall airfoil design. This has focused on the aeroelastic passive rotation dynamics and planform geometry. This is the first such study in which we make no scaling assumptions on the aerodynamics.