Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Electrical Engineering


Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

First Advisor

LaVern A. Starman, PhD


The work in this thesis includes the design, modeling, and testing of motors and rotor blades to be used on a millimeter-scale helicopter style flying micro air vehicle (MAV). Three different types of motor designs were developed and tested, which included circular scratch drives, electrostatic motors, and comb drive resonators. Six different rotor designs were tested; five used residual stress while one design used photoresist to act as a hinge to achieve rotor blade deflection. Two key parameters of performance were used to evaluate the motor and rotor blade designs: the frequency of motor rotation and the angle of deflection achieved in the rotor blades. One successful design utilized a scratch drive motor with four attached rotor blades to try to achieve lift. While the device rotated successfully, the rotational frequency was insufficient to achieve lift-off. The electrostatic motor designs proved to be a challenge, only briefly moving before shorting out; nonetheless, lessons were learned. Comb drive designs operated over a wide range of high frequencies, lending them to be a promising method of turning a rotary MAV. None of the fabricated devices were able to achieve lift, due to insufficient rotational rates and low angles of attack on the rotor blades. With slight modifications to the current designs, the required rotational rates and rotor blade deflections would yield a viable MAV. The ultimate objective of this effort was to create an autonomous MAV on the millimeter scale, able to sense and act upon targets in its environment. Such a craft would be virtually undetectable, stealthily maneuvering and capable of precision engagement.

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