NA4 - Application Support
MAVs-Study - Biologically Inspired, Super Maneuverable, Flapping Wing Micro-Air-Vehicles
Domain: Others
Subdomain: Engineering
Status: 4
During millions of years of evolution, nature has developed highly efficient locomotion mechanisms to provide “legs” to move on land, “flapping wings” to fly, and “fins” to swim. Nowadays, biologists and engineers work together with the mutual goal of explaining the underlying physics of the mechanisms used by birds and insects to maintain flight, propel, navigate and perform extremely complex maneuvers. However, in many cases where it was intended to produce a complete biological imitation (biomimetics) of an insect, bird or fish, few encouraging results were obtained. In such a way, flapping-wings are an attractive alternative to develop a functional micro-air vehicle (MAV) capable to perform missions such as: surveillance missions, inspection of collapsed buildings, exploration of dead-dirty-dangerous (D3) environments, and future survey and exploration of extraterrestrial atmospheres, among others. All these applications requires that such a vehicle exhibits an extraordinary ability to maneuver (supermaneuverability), avoid obstacles, navigate at low speeds, switch quickly between forward and hovering flight, and to move successfully in reduced spaces; this is the \'seal\' that characterizes the most agile flying creatures in nature. A project of this magnitude, it should involve the study of the kinematics, aerodynamics, dynamics, control and aeroelasticity of insects and small birds in order to definitely decode and understand the language of natural flight. Particularly, the kinematics of flying insects is quite complex, involving simultaneous rotations, oscillations and significant changes in the angle of attack. All this permits the wings to follow an extremely complex trajectory producing different flight mechanisms that are efficient at low to moderate Reynolds numbers. Some of these mechanisms, such as the delayed stall, the additional circulation generated by the rotation of the wing, and the wake capture amongst others, offer unique advantages with respect to the well-known fixed-wing aerial vehicles. Such advantages are better lift and thrust generation without the need to increase weight. MAV-study is a numerical simulation tool that allows one to: analyze all the kinematical parameters involve in the flight with flapping-wings; and to study the nonlinear and unsteady aerodynamics of micro-air vehicles inspired by biology. The aerodynamic model adopted in this work is a modified 3D version of the \"unsteady vortex lattice method\", a generalization of the well known \"vortex lattice method\", which is widely used in steady and incompressible flows. The model allows taking into account unsteady behavior, aerodynamic nonlinearities associated with large angles of attack and large wing displacements, static deformations, and vorticity-dominated flows. The modified aerodynamic model also includes the leading-edge separation. This phenomenon has been mentioned by biologists and zoologists as responsible of the noticeable increase in the aerodynamics loads with respect to predictions obtained by stationary and linear aerodynamic theories. The results show that the aerodynamic model implemented in this numerical code is indeed capable of predicting, with notable accuracy, the forces and flow field generated by an insect-like flapping wing. The computed lift forces agreed well with results from a previous experimental study. The combination of the kinematic model and the aerodynamic model, along with a pre-processor to generate the insect geometry (body and wings) gives rise to a powerful computational tool. It allows to: use several kinematics patterns to move the wings; define, in a interactive way, different geometries for the insect; predict the fluid-motion field around the structure of the insect’s body and insect’s wings; estimate the spatial-temporal vorticity distribution attached to the insect’s body and insect’s wings; estimate the vorticity distribution in, and the position and shape of the wakes emitted from the sharp edges of the wings, predict the aerodynamic loads acting on the wings, and take into account all possible aerodynamics interferences.
Website and/or External link:Not available
Full Paper: Unsteady and nonlinear aerodynamics of flapping-wings micro-air-vehicles inspired by biology. Revista Iberoamericana de Ingeniería Mecánica v.16, 2012
Full Paper: Development of a kinematical model to study the aerodynamics of flapping-wings. Int. Journal of Micro Air Vehicles v.3, no.2, p.61-81, 2011
Book: Chapter 2: Supporting e-Science Applications on e-Infrastructures: Some Use Cases from Latin America. Grid Computing, Towards a Global Interconnected Infrastructure. 2011
Report: MAVs-Study, Catania Special Gridification Week for Windows Applications (15-19/03/2010). 2010
Article: International Science Grid This Week. Feature - Fruitfly plus flight studies plus grid equals flying robots?. 2010
Thesis: Numerical simulations of interactions among aerodynamics, structural dynamics, and control Systems, Ph.D. Dissertation, Department of Engineering Science and Mechanics, Virginia Tech (1998). 1998