Man has always been fascinated by the flight of birds and insects. First attempts at flight involved flapping wings to mimic the birds and insects that had been observed in flight. Fixed wings proved to be a more practical approach and have been used for over 100 years for manned flight. Emphasis has been placed on flapping wing designs for micro air vehicles (MAVs) as research has shown that challenges arise in lift generation and stability in fixed wing flight as the scale decreases [1].This research explores the use of 3D, time-resolved, Synthetic Aperture PIV (SAPIV) in measuring flow velocities on the mechanical flapping wing of a MAV in tethered flight. The vortical structures on the MAV are measured using both SAPIV and 2DPIV to be able to analyze 2D and 3D velocity fields. The 3D vorticity plots and 2D slice vorticity plots show the three-dimensional nature of the Leading Edge Vortex (LEV) and Trailing Edge Vortex (TEV). 2DPIV plots and 2D slices from the 3D data show general agreement in the structure and behavior of the flow around the flapping wing. The lift and thrust generated by the MAV are measured using a force gauge. The wing tip is tracked in 2D and 3D for synchronization of the measured lift forces with the flow field measurements from the SAPIV. The positive and negative circulation are plotted against the measured lift and thrust forces. The measured lift and thrust forces from the force gauge are then compared to the calculated lift and thrust forces from the measured 3D circulation found through the SAPIV flow field measurements. A plane measured parallel to the LEV and TEV vortex cores allows the defining of a unit vector that is directed normal to the top of the wing and the LEV and TEV cores. The decomposition of the unit vector allows for the calculation of the lift and thrust generated by the circulation around the wing. The comparisons between the measured and calculated forces show good agreement in the case of the measured and calculated lift forces.



College and Department

Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology; Mechanical Engineering



Date Submitted


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