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Aerospace Science and Technology 13 (2009) 383392

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Aerospace Science and Technology


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Design and aerodynamic analysis of a apping-wing micro aerial vehicle


Bor-Jang Tsai ,1 , Yu-Chun Fu
Department of Mechanical Engineering, Chung Hua University, No. 707, Sec. 2, Wu Fu Rd., Hsinchu, Taiwan 300, ROC

a r t i c l e

i n f o

a b s t r a c t

Article history:
Received 2 October 2007
Received in revised form 6 July 2009
Accepted 9 July 2009
Available online 20 August 2009
Keywords:
Planar membrane wing
Flapping wing
MAV

This paper presents the design and aerodynamic performance of a planar membrane wing as shape airfoil
for the micro aerial vehicle. This simulation calculates the average lift force, L as the criteria weight of
the apping wing (weight must be lower than 8.78 g), to make one ultra-light, small size apping wing
MAV. In here two phases are discussed. First, the 3D aerodynamic calculation and ow eld simulation
of a planar membrane wing as shape airfoil for a MAV were studied. Analyzing the apping wing under
different frequencies and angles of attack, investigates the pressure distribution, the airfoil-tip vortex and
the up-wash situation of the air ow. Second is to average lift force, L 8.78 g for designing weight limit
of the MAV. The specications of apping wing MAV are 8 g gross weight, the 15 cm wingspan, and
5 cm chord length. In this vehicle, we employed the concept of four-bar linkage to design a apping
mechanism which simulates the apping motion of a bird. The angles of upstroke and downstroke can
be varied in the design. The total apping angle is 73 . The apping frequency of wing is 25.58 Hz.
The power source comes from motor with a LiH battery. A simple ight test was carried out and the
result of the ight is going well. The actual ight distance is approximately 8 m, and the primary goal is
achieved. By the way, we found the rigidity of tail wing is crucial and should be enhanced to prevent the
apping-wing MAV will be unable to revise if the MAV in a crooked condition and it will cause a crash.
2009 Elsevier Masson SAS. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction
The micro aerial vehicle, in English is abbreviated as a MAV,
according to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
(DARPA) of USA, the size of various aspects of micro aerial vehicle (MAV) is limited to 15 cm, the ying speed is 1020 m/s, the
Reynolds number must be below 106 . Regarding a apping wing
for a MAV, the most important issue at present is the aerodynamic performance. The Reynolds number of a MAV is about 105 ,
this range of Reynolds number will cause laminar separation phenomenon occurred on the surfaces of the body. Moreover, since
the denition of a MAV includes size limit, and the challenge of
this work is to design an ultra-light and small size of a apping
wing MAV comparing all literatures [1,7,9,10,13], therefore by using very low aspect ratio of MAV to obtain enough lifting force,
L. However, small aspect ratio will increase the three-dimensional
effects on ow eld. The MAV is small and the speed is low, the
ight stability of a MAV is affected easily by the external wind
shear or other disturbances.
This research applied dynamic moving grid technology and analyzed a planar membrane wing under the low Reynolds number.
Each pattern of the ap movement initiates a complex and un-

*
1

Corresponding author. Tel.: +886 3 5186478; fax: +886 3 5186521.


E-mail address: bjtsai@chu.edu.tw (B.-J. Tsai).
Professor.

1270-9638/$ see front matter


doi:10.1016/j.ast.2009.07.007

2009 Elsevier Masson

SAS. All rights reserved.

steady ow eld. Calculation of aerodynamic performance becomes


crucial. To predict lifting force, L needs to solve the whole unsteady apping ow eld of a wing. Approaches of solving this are
divided into two steps; rst, we do the ow eld simulation and
analysis, second, we design and manufacture it.
Regarding the literature survey, in 2000, Neff and Hummel [9]
studied the two- and three-dimensional ow elds by plunging
and pitching movement for NACA 0012 airfoil, they solved the Euler equation to simulate the ap and twist movement for the rectangular wing. In 2003, Tuncer and Kaya [13] made the movement
of the upstroke and downstroke ap by using the two-dimensional
NACA 0014 and they analyzed the reason which is thrust force, T
produced and observe the overow situation of its turbulent ow.
In 2001, the Caltech, Pornsin-sirirak made a MAV [10], they used
the titanium alloy wing of the xylene thin lm, complete the altogether weight is 10.5 g, also y for 518 sec successfully. In
2005, Delaware University in USA, Agrawal imitates an insect ight
and they studied the multi-dimensional apping movement and
the twisting movement to simulate the hummingbird ap and but
not becomes a MAV [1]. In 2006, Lin, Hwu and Young reported
the trust and lift of an ornithopters membrane wings with simple apping motion on the journal [7], they revealed the lift force,
L of a exible apping wing will increase with the increase of
the apping frequency under the corresponding ying speed. For
the same apping frequency, the ying speed can be increased by
decreasing of the angle of attack with the trade of loosing some
lifting force. The apping motion generates the trust to acquire

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B.-J. Tsai, Y.-C. Fu / Aerospace Science and Technology 13 (2009) 383392

Nomenclature
L
P
L
T
T
CL
CL
CD
CD
K
AOA

average lift force . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . N


pressure . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . pa, psi
lift force . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . N
thrust force . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . N
average thrust force . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . N
lift coecient
average lift coecient
drag coecient
average drag coecient
reduced frequency . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Hz
angle of attack . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

the ying speed. The ying speed and angle of attack combine
to generate the lift force, L for ying. This paper is the most important reference to us. In recent, the design of precision balance
and aerodynamic characteristic for micro aerial vehicle to measure
lift, drag, rolling-moment, and pitching-moment of a MAV was reported by Suhariyono et al. [12], but measurement is for the xed
wing MAV only, not for apping wing, the measurement of apping wing is critical. Only Singh et al. [11] studied an experimental
apparatus that incorporates apping wings and measures the small
amount of thrust generated by these wing motions is described.
This methodology is used to measure the thrust generated by two
wings at different wing pitch settings. Also, the effect of change
in pitch phase during a apping cycle is examined experimentally.
Regarding the simulation, Larijani [6] proposed a nonlinear aeroelastic model for the study of apping wing ight in the 2001, this
paper conducted the Huangs [5] numerical analysis for the apping wing MAV later.
From Refs. [9] and [7] we know the three-dimensional movement of many birds apping is used the standard NACA shape
airfoil as wings, but actual apping wing of MAV to be restricted
in the volume and the weight. Its unlikely to use the NACA series
of wing section. On the contrary, the most of the apping wing
for MAV, a planar membrane wing are used primarily. In order to
imitating the insect utter and the ight pattern, therefore, this
investigation does take the planar membrane wing as a study target vehicle, discussing its aerodynamic characteristic and to predict
average lift force, L as the criteria weight to manufacture a future
MAV. The actual MAV was made by the wingspan is 15 cm, the
mean chord is 5 cm, the weight is 8 g, the wing area is 75 cm2 ,
the apping frequency is 25.58 Hz of a apping wing MAV.
2. Numerical analysis

Wm
U
Re
J
AR

different weight . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . g
ying speed . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . m/s
Reynolds number
advance ratio
aspect ratio
density . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . kg/m3
length of chord . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . m
the frontal area . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . m2
time . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . s
slope angle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . rad
dynamic viscosity

c
S
t

After the numerical computation of the convergence condition


which in the volume change rate is smaller than after each time
the iteration that we give.

C k =

(2)

2.2. Design budgetary estimates


2.2.1. Estimation of the MAV weight
The MAV weight (W Total ) may include a MAV main body weight
(W Fuselage ), a wing weight (W Rudder ), the load weight (battery and
switch or joint) (W Payload ) and the power unit (motor) (W Power ).
2.2.2. Aerodynamic parameter estimates
Lift coecient:

2L

CL =

(3)

U 2 S

Thrust coecient:

CT =

2T

(4)

U 2 S

Reduced frequency:

fc

K=

(5)

Advance ratio:

J=

U
2 f R

Flying speed or uid velocity


Wing tip speed

(6)

Reynolds number:

Re =

2.1. Numerical method


 

 B n n   B 0 0  < (given value)

C Ut

4 f R 2

AR

(7)

3. Discussion and analysis of the numerical results


In the numerical simulation solves the speed and the pressure
on this pattern ow eld. It is an integral control volume method.
In the control volume denition, each physical quantities is signicant because the separation variable is the integral of control
volume for the governing equation, therefore we must rst take
the separation of the governing equation to control volume of the
ow eld computation.
Governing equation:

1 

g t

 r grad ) = S
g + div( u

(1)

: On behalf of any independent physical quantity (u i , e , k . . .)


: Diffusion coecient
S : Source coecient

3.1. Numerical simulation


3.1.1. Geometry contour and grid establishment
In order to conform to DARPAs denition of the MAV, therefore this research takes 15 cm as the wingspan length and only
constructs the single wing (half wingspan) of grid. The main consideration of chord length is for hoped the induced drag is small
but the wing induced drag following the lifting force, L occurs, the
lifting force, L is bigger and the induced drag is also bigger. But
the wing induced drag is directly related to the aspect ratio and
if the aspect ratio is bigger, relatively, the induced drag will be
smaller. Therefore, this research designate the aspect ratio is 3, the
chord length c is 5 cm, the thickness of planar membrane wing
is 0.3 mm and the rectangular shape of wing. The grid uses the

B.-J. Tsai, Y.-C. Fu / Aerospace Science and Technology 13 (2009) 383392

385

Fig. 1. The grid disposition of the rigid wing section for a three-dimensional planar membrane wing.

non-constructive grid, the non-constructive grid is easier than the


constructive grid to process the complex geometry, has the convenience to use the three-dimensional dynamic moving grid skills
[4] as well. The connecting positions of wing entity and the ow
passage will have the boundary layer effect, therefore the grid became dense but the entire ow passage used the dispose for the
C grid, the total grid point is 854,090, shown in Fig. 1. The computational domain; the length is 32.5c, the extended is 12.5c, the
height is 25c.
3.1.2. Setting of boundary conditions
The predetermined MAV ying speed is 10 m/s, therefore incoming air speed is 10 m/s. The outow is an atmospheric pressure. Because of ow eld assuming sliding, therefore the hypothesis of ow passage ank is the sliding boundary, then, the position
of boundary will not have the boundary layer effect. The apping
angle is 30 .
3.1.3. Numerical algorithm and setting of parameters
The convection terns of momentum equations use different approaching principles by spatial separation variables, two principles
were employed in this study, the pressure term uses staggered
type of PRESTO (Pressure Staggering Option) principle. In addition
to the speed-pressure eld coupling uses the SIMPLE principle. For
the time accuracy, the time step is carried on iterations by the two
step implicit expression law (2nd order Implicit Algorithm) [3]. The
important parameter settings are as follow:
1. Reduced frequency K setting: the K value is 0.1 and 0.2 and
0.3, from Eq. (5), may know the actual ight of birds conversion to the apping frequency.
K = 0.1, is equal to ap of 6.369 times in each second.
K = 0.2, is equal to ap of 12.739 times in each second.
K = 0.3, is equal to ap of 19.108 times in each second.
2. Angle of attack setting: designates the angles of attack is 0 ,
5 and 10 .
3.2. Program validation by a case of three-dimensional rigid wing
Based on 2004, Ref. [5], in view of aerodynamic analysis for
a three-dimensional apping wing, simulates the behavior of the
NACA 2412 rigid wing ap. Case uses the same wing section and
the ow eld conditions. That is the NACA 2412 rectangular wing
and AR is 8, and the single wing of grid was constructed, namely
half wingspan is 4c (c is the chord length 3.4 cm), the is 15 ,
the angle of attack is 0 , the U is 8.6 m/s, the ap frequency is
8 Hz, 16 Hz and 24 Hz respectively, carries on the computation of
dynamic ap of unsteady ow eld. The grid distribution is shown
in Fig. 2, and the total grid number is 641,624. Fig. 3 is a comparison of lifting coecient in condition of unsteady state, result
of lift coecient between this research and Ref. [5] is quite close,

Fig. 2. The grid system of the rigid wing section for the three-dimensional NACA
2412 under the upstroke and downstroke.

this proves that the setting of boundary conditions and numerical


model is accuracy and correct.
3.3. A three-dimensional case of planar membrane wing in different
K AOA = 0 , K = 0.1, 0.2, and 0.3
3.3.1. Lifting force and thrust force
When the angle of attack is 0 and the K value is 0.1, 0.2
and 0.3 respectively, investigates the increasing of K to inuence
on the aerodynamic forces. Fig. 4 shows the comparison of lift coecient, C L and different drag coecient, C D based on different
K values, in the lift coecient, C L portion, the movement of ap
wing starting the downstroke and arriving the center point position from the highest peak, the lift coecient, C L elevates to the
maximum value, the movement of ap wing apping again from
the center point downstroke to the perigee position, and the lift
coecient, C L falls to the starting value. Therefore, in downstroke
for the lifting force, L is positive. Starting to upstroke, the ap
apping from the perigee to the center point position, the lift coefcient, C L falls to the minimum value, the movement of ap wing
apping again from the center point to the peak position, the lift
coecient, C L rises to the starting value, thus the lifting force, L is
negative value in upstroke.
The increase of K causes the prole of top and bottom oscillation amplitude for the lift coecient, C L to become the proportional increasing, while in downstroke, the positive lift coecient, C L becomes the proportion to increase. While K = 0.1, the
maximum of lift coecient, C L is 0.1. While K = 0.2, the maximum
of lift coecient, C L is 0.2. While K = 0.3, the maximum of lift coecient, C L is 0.3. While in upstroke, the negative lift coecient,
C L becomes the proportional increasing. While K = 0.1, the smallest lift coecient, C L is 0.1. While K = 0.2, the smallest lift coecient, C L is 0.2. While K = 0.3, the smallest lift coecient, C L
is 0.3. Increase of the positive and the negative counterbalances
mutually, thus the K value increase does not have the contribution

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B.-J. Tsai, Y.-C. Fu / Aerospace Science and Technology 13 (2009) 383392

(a) This research

(b) Ref. [5]

Fig. 3. The comparison of lift coecient, C L under different frequencies for the NACA 2412.

Fig. 4. The comparison of the lift and drag coecient, C L , C D under different K (AOA = 0 ).

to the average lifting force, L (equal to zero), therefore apping like


this way is unable to generate the lifting force, L.
Moreover, in the drag coecient, C D portion, while the K increases, the drag coecient, C D has the big variation only when
the ap starts apping. While K = 0.1, the biggest drag coecient, C D is 0.0125. While K = 0.2, the biggest drag coecient,
C D is 0.014. While K = 0.3, the biggest drag coecient, C D
is 0.015. The drag coecient, C D reduces relatively when the
K value increases, after the rst ap cycle, no matter how K value
is, both in downstroke and in upstroke will not have big change,
the mean drag coecient, C D is 0.018. As a result, while the angle of attack is 0 , the increase of K value does not have a quite
big contribution to the average thrust coecient.
3.3.2. Wing tip vortex
In order to ensure the accuracy, the second period of ap cycle in numerical calculation was selected to observe, it separately
picks six points of time period in the cycle to observe. Fig. 5 shows
the t / T = 0/6 t / T = 5/6 are in order. Figs. 6 and 7 show the velocity vector diagrams for K = 0.1 and K = 0.3 respectively, at the
position of 1/4 chord length observes the wing tip vortex. While
the t / T = 0 starting downstroke, then curls up the counterclockwise rotation of the wing tip vortex, the strong turbulent ow
causes the low pressure region for the upper wing surface, there-

Fig. 5. The schematic drawing of the apping points of time period.

fore it may bring the upward lifting force, L for the plate wing.
While the t / T = 3/6 in the perigee position of downstroke, instantaneously, the turbulent ow can be absorbed because of the big
reacting force. While the t / T = 4/6 starting upstroke, then curls
up the clockwise rotation of the wing tip vortex, the strong turbulent ow causes of the low pressure region for lower wing surface,
therefore the negative lifting force, L is not favor for the MAV
ight.
While K = 0.1, no matter how the downstroke or upstroke
is, the wing tip vortex appears smooth. While K = 0.3, the wing

B.-J. Tsai, Y.-C. Fu / Aerospace Science and Technology 13 (2009) 383392

387

(a) t / T = 0/6

(b) t / T = 2/6

(c) t / T = 3/6

(d) t / T = 5/6

Fig. 6. The velocity vector diagram of a apping cycle (K = 0.1, AOA = 0 ).

tip vortex can be seen obviously and the average vortex velocity
is 8.02 m/s for the wing tip. As a result of the K increase can
cause the maximum vortex velocity increasing quickly for the wing
tip, wing tip vortex became obvious, it affects the pressure between upper and lower surfaces of airfoil, and inuences on lifting
force, L and thrust force, T as well. Regardless of the increasing
of K , the upstroke and downstroke have the same clockwise and
counterclockwise strength of the vortex, therefore the positive and
the negative of lifting force, L is mutually offset. This causes the
average lifting force equal to zero. This result veries that C L and
C D of different K at AOA = 0 as our expectation.
3.4. A three-dimensional case of planar membrane wing in different
angle of attack K = 0.3, AOA = 0 , 5 and 10
3.4.1. Lifting force and thrust force
K = 0.3, AOA = 0 , 5 and 10 , investigates the increasing of K
to inuence on the lift coecient, C L and the drag coecient, C D .
Fig. 8 is the comparison of the lift coecient, C L and the drag
coecient, C D under the different angle of attack, so the increasing angle of attack conducive to favor the lifting force, L and the
thrust force, T generation, while in downstroke the positive lift coecient, C L becomes the proportion to increase. While AOA = 0 ,
the maximum lift coecient, C L is 0.3. While AOA = 5 , the maximum lift coecient, C L is 0.5. While AOA = 10 , the maximum
lift coecient, C L is 0.7. While in upstroke, the negative lift coefcient, C L becomes the proportional reducing actually. While the
AOA = 0 , the smallest lift coecient, C L is 0.3. While AOA = 5 ,
the smallest lift coecient, C L is 0.15. While AOA = 10 , the
smallest lift coecient, C L is 0. According to this, while AOA = 10 ,
the lifting force, L is no longer negative. Thus, the angle of attack

moderate increasing will help the average lift coecient C L increase.


In addition to the drag coecient, C D in the downstroke and
upstroke, the prole change of oscillation amplitude is obvious.
When apping wing starting downstroke and arriving the center
point position from the highest peak, the drag coecient, C D falls
to the lowest. Again wing apping from the center point downstroke to the perigee position, the drag coecient, C D elevates to
the starting value, this may know while in downstroke the thrust
force, T is positive. Then wing apping starts to upstroke from the
perigee to the center point position, the drag coecient, C D rises
to the highest. The movement of wing aps to upstroke again from
the center point to the peak position, the drag coecient, C D falls
to starting value, this means while in upstroke the thrust force, T
is also positive.
Although in downstroke the minimum drag coecient, C D assumes that the linear proportion to reduce, but it reduces relatively along with the angle of attack increase. While AOA = 0 ,
the minimum drag coecient, C D is 0.018. While AOA = 5 ,
the minimum drag coecient, C D is 0.06. While AOA = 10 ,
the minimum drag coecient, C D is 0.135. But in upstroke
the biggest drag coecient, C D actually assumes that the linear
proportional increasing. While AOA = 0 , the biggest drag coecient, C D is 0.015. While AOA = 5 , the biggest drag coecient,
C D is 0.005. While AOA = 10 , the biggest drag coecient, C D
is 0.02. It increases along with the angle of attack increase, although in upstroke the biggest drag coecient, C D does not assume that the linear proportion to reduce, but for all cases, the
angle of attack increases will help the entire cyclical of the average thrust force T .

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B.-J. Tsai, Y.-C. Fu / Aerospace Science and Technology 13 (2009) 383392

(a) t / T = 0/6

(b) t / T = 2/6

(c) t / T = 3/6

(d) t / T = 5/6
Fig. 7. The velocity vector diagram of a apping cycle (K = 0.3, AOA = 0 ).

Fig. 8. The comparison of the lift and drag coecient, C L , C D under different AOA (K = 0.3).

3.4.2. Wing tip vortex


Figs. 7 and 9 are the speed of vector diagrams for AOA = 0
and AOA = 10 , when K = 0.3 and at the position of 1/4 chord
length observes the wing tip vortex. While AOA = 0 , regardless of
in downstroke or upstroke, they all have the wing tip vortex. Also,
the average vortex velocity is 8.02 m/s for the wing tip. While
AOA = 10 , the average vortex velocity increases to 12.4 m/s for
the wing tip. In addition, the scope of turbulent ow increases
gradually. While the angle of attack increases, the average vortex velocity was already bigger than the free-stream speed for the
wing tip. While the angle of attack increases, the upper and lower
surfaces of wing have the pressure difference, producing the wing
tip vortex of the wing to form the lower pressure area, it creates
a function of suction force to the ow eld and causes the ow

eld to form an acceleration feature in the turbulent ow region.


However, in upstroke, because it has the inuence of the angle of
attack, causes of the frontal area of lower surface of wing to increase and resulting in the pressure of the lower surface of wing
relative to enhance and it with upstroke the lower surface of wing
produces the lower pressure region mutually to balance, therefore,
there are no the wing tip vortex, the negative lifting force, L relative to be smaller is good for the ight of the apping wing of a
MAV.
Along with the angle of attack increasing, in downstroke the
speed of average wing tip vortex is accelerated gradually. The intensity is strengthened gradually and the scope of turbulent ow
is expanded gradually, relatively, upper and lower surfaces of wing
have the pressure difference to be bigger, the lifting force, L is

B.-J. Tsai, Y.-C. Fu / Aerospace Science and Technology 13 (2009) 383392

(a) t / T = 0/6

389

(b) t / T = 2/6

(c) t / T = 3/6

(d) t / T = 5/6
Fig. 9. The velocity vector diagram of a ap cycle (K = 0.3, AOA = 10 ).

Table 1
The average lifting force and thrust force of the different angle of attack (K = 0.3).
AOA = 0
AOA = 5
AOA = 10

CL

CD

L (g)

T (g)

0
0.1875
0.3625

0.018
0.0325
0.0775

0
4.39
8.4874

0.4214
0.7609
1.8146

naturally bigger as well. But in upstroke, as the pressure difference


balances the upper and the lower surfaces of the wing tip vortex,
the negative lifting force, L relative to be smaller. This can verify
the C L and C D under different angle of attack.

3.5. Aerodynamic performance


The K = 0.3 is under the different angle of attack of the analysis result to the average lift and drag coecient, C D , substitution
for Eqs. (3) and (4) may result in the average lifting force and
thrust force, T of ap in the single wing, the thrust force, T value
(Table 1), calculates that the value might help for designs in the
future whole of the weight reference for the apping wing MAV.
4. The design and actual manufacture
The design parameters of apping wing for a MAV: the
wingspan is 15 cm, the aspect ratio is 3, the mean chord is 5 cm

Fig. 10. Design drawing and three views of the apping wing MAV.

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B.-J. Tsai, Y.-C. Fu / Aerospace Science and Technology 13 (2009) 383392

Table 2
The various components weight of the MAV.
Components

Weight (grams)

Fuselage (including transmission sys.)


Airfoil
Lithium battery
Joint
Motor
Total

2.3
1.5
1.5
0. 7
2
8

and the wing thickness is 0.03 cm. The overall design conguration
is shown in Fig. 10.
4.1. Overall design
4.1.1. Estimation of total weight to take off
The prediction of numerical calculation tells us, the gross
weight has to be lower than 8.78 g to be able to y. Therefore
aspects of weight to take off is estimated, weights of various components are listed in Table 2. From Table 2 we can see that the
total weight estimate to take off is 8 g, lower than 8.78 g. Eliminating crosswind shear and projection angle problems, this apping
wing micro aerial vehicle should be able to y ideally.

4.1.2. Overall designs of fuselage, actuation and electrical power system


By Refs. [2,8], in general, the length of fuselage is approximately
0.71.1 times of the main plane wingspan, the area of the horizontal tail is approximately 712% of the main wing area, and its
position is approximately 1.52.5 times length of chord away from
center of gravity of the airplane. Thus, the fuselage length is 12 cm
and the horizontal tail is installed away from the nose 9.5 cm, the
wing area of horizontal tail is 5.625 cm2 .
In order to avoid the overweight of battery and the motor affects the lifting force, L, therefore the choice of the weight of
battery is 1.5 g and the output voltage is 3.7 V of the lithium battery, shown in Fig. 11(a). Weight of motor chooses 2 g, as the input
voltage of high eciency motor is 3.7 V that the output rotational
speed can reach 28,000 rpm.
4.1.3. The reduction gear of transmission
Four-bar linkage was used as the actuating transmission unit.
The ap angle of 30 cannot just make it because of the ratio
of gears and spacing problem of transmission unit. Therefore, the
optimum design of the ap transmission system employed the program ap design, numerical result decides the angles of upstroke
and downstroke are 35 and 38 respectively. The transmission
system unit is shown in Fig. 11(b). The MAV vehicle wants to be
able to y, the K = 3 at least. However, rotation speed of motor is

(a) Lithium battery

(b) Transmission mechanism

(c) The MAV entity

(d) The MAV components


Fig. 11. The entity and components drawing of the MAV.

B.-J. Tsai, Y.-C. Fu / Aerospace Science and Technology 13 (2009) 383392

391

(a)

(b)

(c)

(d)
Fig. 12. The MAV ying test.

466.667 Hz while the input voltage is 3.7 V. This frequency is too


high and torque is too small resulting in the ap wing cannot ap
eciently, it is necessary to reduce the gear ratio to 18.24:1, and
the nal apping frequency of wing is 25.58 Hz.
4.1.4. Estimation of aerodynamic parameters
By using the above conditions of the MAV, Eq. (6) calculates the
J is 2.047, in which the speed of wing tip is 4.886 m/s. We know
the wind speed is bigger than the wing tip speed, in other words,
the ap frequency excessively small. The ight characteristics of
apping wing displace the unsteady state to the quasi-steady state
that is a contradictory phenomenon. If the speed of wing tip can
be promoted, it will cause the J equal to about 1, so that the ight
of unsteady apping wing become realistic, then using Eq. (7) to
calculate the Re is 16,733, small than 106 just right to describe
the ight region of MAV. In the situation of the ap angle, the
wingspan and the aspect ratio xed, the ap frequency then becomes the main variable of the Reynolds number.
4.2. Manufacture and test ight
The manufacture of wing contains an airfoil outrigger or bone
rib between the wing root and the wingspan skeleton, in order to
maintain stiffness and shape for the thin lm of airfoil does not

distort excessively and to keep the change of lifting force, L wont


happen dramatically in upstroke or downstroke. The thin lm wing
has made by the ethylene material. The main body of fuselage uses
carbon ber stick. The MAV is shown in Fig. 11(c), (d).
While a simple ight testing, throws the MAV by hand, the
best far range of ight may reach 8 m and discover the vibration of transmission system small, in addition to the horizontal
tail is quite benecial for the ight stability of MAV. While the
horizontal tail adjustment supremely curls upwards to 10 , the
ight condition is the best. In addition, throws by hand if not
has suitable skill, it often causes the angle of attack oversized or
slightly has created loses speed then crash. Test ight as shown in
Fig. 12.
5. Conclusions
(1) The numerical analysis is a tool to help the design of micro
aerial vehicle.
(2) While AOA = 0 , the K is increased and does not have the
contribution to the average lifting force (all are zero), but the
mean drag coecient, C D all is 0.018. While K = 0.3 and
AOA = 5 , the average lift coecient, C L climbs to 0.1875, the
mean drag coecient, C D reduces to 0.0325. While AOA =
10 , the average lift coecient, C L promotes again to 0.3625,

392

(3)

(4)

(5)

(6)

B.-J. Tsai, Y.-C. Fu / Aerospace Science and Technology 13 (2009) 383392

the mean drag coecient, C D reduces again to 0.0775. Thus,


it may be known that a moderate increase of the angle of attack is quite advantageous to the production of average lifting
force and average thrust force T .
While AOA = 0 , the K is increased. It causes the average
speed of wing tip vortex speed relative to increase relatively,
but the upstroke and downstroke of the clockwise and counterclockwise strength of the vortex is equal. Therefore, the
average lifting force is zero. While K = 0.3 and the angle of
attack increases, the counterclockwise rotation average wing
tip vortex speed is bigger than the free-stream speed of the
downstroke that lifting force, L relative to promotion. Because
the lower airfoil frontal area to increase in upstroke will cause
the pressure enhance and it with lower pressure region balances each other of the lower airfoil. Therefore, the wing tip
vortex production is not discovered. Its relative to smaller of
the negative value for the lifting force, L.
As a result of the MAV, it must y with minimum angle of
attack is 5 . Therefore it uses the horizontal tail to produce
a downward force. By pulling up the nose will produce the
angle of attack and it discovered adjustment supremely curls
upwards 10 , the ight condition is best.
The result of using motor that make the output rotational
speed excessively quickly, therefore it needs the gear group to
reduce the driven rotational speed to obtain more torsion and
enhances the transmission system supplies to the ap wing to
output the lifting force, L and the thrust force, T . Otherwise, it
is will be insucient for the torsion and unable effectiveness
to ap the wing.
After the actual test ight to prove that horizontal ight reach
above 8 m, and it discovered the smaller transmission system
vibration and addition to the horizontal tail are quite benecial for stability of the apping wing MAV ight.

Acknowledgements
The authors acknowledge the support of the MRL of the ITRI,
ROC 2007 and the funding of the National Science Council in Taiwan under the contracts of NSC 94-2212-E-216-004.
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