On avian wings, significant flow control is accomplished using localized control loops, both active and passive, between leading- and trailing-edge feathers. Conversely, most man-made flight control systems respond to perturbations in inertial measurements (global states) rather than the flow itself (local states). This paper presents the design of a distributed, biomimetic flow control system and a characterization of its performance compared to a wing with traditional control surfaces relying on inertial measurements. This new design consists of a skeletal wing structure with a network of feather-like panels installed on the upper and lower surfaces, extending beyond the trailing edge and replacing leading- and trailing-edge flaps/ailerons. Each feather is able to deform into and out of the boundary layer, thus permitting local airflow manipulation and transpiration through the wing. For this study, two airfoil sections are compared — a standard wing section with a trailing-edge flap, and section with multiple trailing-edge feathers. COMSOL Multiphysics is used to model the flow field under various flight conditions and flap deflections. A dynamics model of the wing is also simulated in order to compute the disturbances caused by wind gusts. Continuous gusts are simulated, and the disturbance rejection capabilities of the baseline and feathered wing cases are compared.

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