Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics

First Advisor

Donald Kunz, PhD.


A topology optimization model for conceptual wing structure layouts of morphing micro air vehicles (MAVs) has been developed and implemented in MATLAB. Specifically, a six degree-of-freedom finite element (FE) model with a general quadrilateral discretization scheme was created by superposition of a known simple linear plane membrane element and a Kirchhoff plate bending element derived herein. The purpose of the six degree-offreedom model was to accommodate in-plane and out-of-plane aerodynamic loading combinations. The FE model was validated and the MATLAB implementation was verified with classical beam and plate solutions. A compliance minimization optimization objective was then formulated with the Solid Isotropic Material with Penalization (SIMP) method, subject to the equilibrium constraint computed by the FE model, and solved with the Optimality Criteria (OC) method. With the topology optimization model in place, four aerodynamic loading scenarios were extracted from points along a feasible MAV perching flight trajectory and used to determine wing thickness distributions for given planform shapes. The results suggest conceptual structural layouts in morphing MAVs, but equally important, the simple MATLAB implementation of the model can be adapted for a variety of objective statements for MAV morphing wing design.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number