AERODYNAMICS AND FLIGHT PERFORMANCE OF FLAPPING WING MICRO AIR VEHICLES
Committee ChairShkarayev, Sergey
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractResearch efforts in this dissertation address aerodynamics and flight performance of flapping wing aircraft (ornithopters). Flapping wing aerodynamics was studied for various wing sizes, flapping frequencies, airspeeds, and angles of attack. Tested wings possessed both camber and dihedral. Experimental results were analyzed in the framework of momentum theory. Aerodynamic coefficients and Reynolds number are defined using a reference velocity as a vector sum of a freestream velocity and a stroke-averaged wingtip velocity. No abrupt stall was observed in flapping wings for the angle of attack up to vertical. If was found that in the presence of a freestream lift of a flapping wing in vertical position is higher than the propulsive thrust. Camber and dihedral increased both lift and thrust. Lift-curve slope, and maximum lift coefficient increased with Reynolds number. Performance model of an ornithopter was developed. Parametric studies of steady level flight of ornithopters with, and without a tail were performed. A model was proposed to account for wing-sizing effects during hover. Three micro ornithopter designs were presented. Ornithopter flight testing and data-logging was performed using a telemetry acquisition system, as well as motion capture technology. The ability of ornithopter for a sustained flight and a presence of passive aerodynamic stability were shown. Flight data were compared with performance simulations. Close agreement in terms of airspeed and flapping frequency was observed.
Degree ProgramAerospace Engineering