A Study of Planar and Nonplanar Membrane Wing Planforms for the Design of a Flapping-Wing Micro Air Vehicle
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Flapping wings may have potential for success in the realm of micro air vehicles (MAVs). The goal of this thesis was to investigate a variety of flapping wing planforms, including nonplanar effects, to create an optimum planform for an MAV design. Test stand and model prototype experiments were conducted to measure the lift and propulsive thrust generated by flapping wing planforms with a variety of nonplanar tips. The polynomial planform with 20º tip anhedral was selected for the flapping-wing MAV designed herein because of its enhanced performance, reaching over 15 g of lift. A propulsive thrust analysis was performed on the selected wing, indicating sufficient levels of thrust production. Instantaneous lift and strobe photography analyses were performed to investigate the underlying physical effects of nonplanar tips, particularly their ability to reduce negative upstroke lift.