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Design, Manufacturing and Experimental Investigations of Flapping Wing Micro Air Vehicles

Creative Commons 'BY' version 4.0 license

Flapping Wing Micro Air Vehicles (FWMAVs) are micro bioinspired systems which use flapping wings actuation to move in the environment. Stringent size, weight, and power constraints make their design quite challenging. In particular, the flapping actuation mechanism represents a corner stone in the design of the whole vehicle, if not the most challenging task. In this thesis, we provide a review about several designs of flapping wing vehicles in literature. The main idea stems from a double crank rocker mechanism that passively controls the pitch angle. Implementing a new design methodology and some manufacturing iterations, we develop a novel mechanism actively controls both the wing flapping (back and forth) and pitching motions using only one drive motor. We developed three experimental setups to test different aspects of the mechanisms. A one-degree-of-freedom (DoF) pendulum-like to determine the average lift and power. The load cell and laser to measure the lift time history during the cycle, which allow validation of our un-steady aerodynamic model. Finally, a flow visualization setup sheds some light on the in-teraction between the FWMAV dynamics and flow vertical dynamics.

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