Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics

First Advisor

Anthony N. Palazotto, PhD.


The Manduca Sexta species of moth serves as a source of biological inspiration for the future of micro air vehicle flapping flight. The ability of this species to hover in flapping flight has warranted investigation into the critical material, structural, and geometric properties of the forewing of this biological specimen. A rigorous morphological study of the Manduca Sexta forewing was conducted to characterize the physical and material properties of the biological forewing for the purpose of developing an advanced parametric three dimensional model finite element analysis (FEA) model. This FEA model was tuned to match the experimentally determined structural dynamics of the biological specimen and serves as the basis for an engineered wing design. Manufacturing methods are developed and implemented to fabricate the baseline engineered wing design. Biological wings and engineered wings are experimentally tested to determine the aerodynamic lift production of each of wings under the same boundary conditions. Through this research, a structural dynamics based engineering methodology has been used to design, develop, and identify biomimetic engineered wings that experimentally produce aerodynamic forces equivalent to their biological analog.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number