The design of flapping-wing micro air-vehicles presents many engineering challenges. As observed by biologists, insects and birds exhibit complex three-dimensional wing motions. It is believed that these unique patterns of wing motion create favorable aerodynamic forces that enable these species to fly forward, hover, and execute complex motions. From the perspective of micro air-vehicle applications, extremely light-weight designs that accomplish these motions of the wing, using just a single or a few actuators, are preferable. This paper presents a method to design a spherical four-bar flapping mechanism that approximates a given spatial flapping motion of a wing, considered to have favorable aerodynamics. A spherical flapping mechanism was then constructed and its aerodynamic performance was compared to the original spatially moving wing using an instrumented robotic flapper with force sensors.
Design of a Bio-Inspired Spherical Four-Bar Mechanism for Flapping-Wing Micro Air-Vehicle Applications
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McDonald, M., and Agrawal, S. K. (May 3, 2010). "Design of a Bio-Inspired Spherical Four-Bar Mechanism for Flapping-Wing Micro Air-Vehicle Applications." ASME. J. Mechanisms Robotics. May 2010; 2(2): 021012. https://doi.org/10.1115/1.4001460
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