The purpose of this research was to develop testing methods that can be used to determine the forces, moments, and deflections involved in flapping wing aerodynamics. To pursue the research, a flapping wing mechanism and wings with spans ranging from 9.1 inches to 12.1 inches were built. A variety of mechanisms, capable of, alternatively, purely flapping, flapping with pitch, and flapping with pitch and out-of-plane motion were conceptualized and drawn using solid modeling software. Two of the simpler designs, a single degree-of-freedom flapping mechanism and the two-degree of freedom flapping mechanism were fabricated using a rapid prototype 3-D printer, and sustained operation was demonstrated. A thrust stand and a six-component force balance were used to gather force data from the flapping-only mechanism, combined with a variety of wing shapes. Four high-speed cameras were used to capture the motion of the wings. To minimize intrusiveness an array of laser dots was projected onto the wing during flapping and photogrammetry software was used to analyze the images and determine a shape profile of the wing composed of a frame and membrane during flapping. While the focus of this research was on the bench test setup development, some insight into the influence of wing design on the forces acting on the mechanism was gained.
International Journal of Micro Air Vehicles
Curtis, David H.; Reeder, Mark F.; Svanberg, Craig E.; Cobb, Richard G.; and Parker, Gregory H., "Flapping Wing Micro Air Vehicle Bench Test Setup" (2012). Faculty Publications. 146.