The American University in Cairo MENG 372: Mechanical Systems Project: Morphing Ornithopter Wing

Done by: Meg Foresman Mina Ramzy Omar Sedik Youssef Fakhr

Revised by: Dr. Mustafa Arafa

Seagull during down stroke Figure 4. Slider Driven Ornithopter at 90°. Seagull during up stroke with folding Figure 3. Rubber Band Crank Ornithopter in Up Position Figure 7. Initial Folding Wing Design when it toggled Figure 11. Detailed Final Design Page 4 5 6 10 11 15 17 B. Table of Contents: 2. and -80° Figure 6. Background Research 5. 10°. Initial Folding Wing design Figure 10. Designs investigating the placement of motor and inner wing pivot point 2 7 7 7 8 9 9 10 12 12 13 13 13 . Rubber Band Crank Ornithopter in Down Position Figure 8. Brainstorming 7. List of Figures: Figure 1. Abstract 3. Seagull Gliding Figure 2. Forces acting on a flying mechanism Figure 5. Problem Statement 6. Introduction 4. Initial Design of a rigid wing Ornithopter at an up and down positions Figure 9. Analysis/ Selection 8.1. Another Design that worked until it bent backwards Figure 12.

Final Design during down stroke Figure 19. Final Design at bottom extreme position Figure 16. Designs that investigate the lengths of the wing links Figure 15. Final Design at top extreme position Figure 18.Figure 13. Final Design during up stroke Figure 17. Designs that investigate the distance to the motor of the two couplers and which should be closer for better motion Figure 14. Final Design with Dimensions 14 14 18 18 19 19 20 3 .

were investigated and then optimized once a final design was chosen.2. or a flying mechanism that flaps its wings in a vertical motion. With the design selected the maximum torque is approximately 3 Nm and the minimum transmission angles are approximately 22° and 30° for the two sections of the jointed wing. Gears are used to ensure symmetric movement of both wings. Wing motion was researched and observed of seagulls and hawks where the wing is fully extended on the down stroke and then folded on the upstroke to reduce area that air resistance can act. Some are based from physics concepts and others are imitations of nature’s solution. From this research. several ornithopter designs. This design has only one degree of freedom thus can be driven by one motor. A single crank has two couplers attached that drive a jointed wing. The final design is made up of a 6 bar linkage. 4 . Abstract Several methods to fly are implemented in today’s technologies.

5 . there are different and powerful models of ornithopters. would provide a design similar to that found in nature. One of the greatest Italian citizens. But all their attempts have failed and they ended up dying by crashing with the ground. Sadly. his ornithopter could not fly because Leonardo could not recognize that humans are very heavy compared to flying objects and their muscles are also too weak to fly. twist.3. during the tenth century one of the most important scientist in Arab world. Nowadays. by using technological advances and innovative studies. The use of ornithopters has real life applications for military intelligence of a discreet spy method. The disadvantage of using an Ornithopter with rigid wings is that the same power created in the down stroke. Ornithopters are a flight technique where the wings flap to achieve lift. Introduction From Ancient Greek time. During last century in France. After years in Italy. So. Later. Then he fall and get hurt because he did not consider a lot of bird aspects. To minimize the negative lift during the upstroke. The American Wright brothers flew the first plane at Kitty Hawk. Davinci failed to make his dream come true. Gustave Trouvé invented the first successful flying mechanism that used a combustion engine. as myth tells us. This method is found in nature from the wing motion of seagulls and hawks. a lot of people have tried to fly by using simple wings made of feathers. is lost in the upstroke due to air resistance. Since then scientists and engineers have worked to perfect the art of flying as well as design new flying techniques. Thus wings that fold. the wings need to have a minimized area to minimize air resistance. or a combination of the two. Abbas Ibn Firnas has attempted to fly but he succeeds for a small distance. after all this efforts and time. Leonardo Davinci studied aerodynamics and observed the technique of birds flying in order to be able to design a flying mechanism.

On each up-stroke the wing is slightly folded inwards to reduce upward air resistance. so they twist automatically. 6 . Their two main in-flight motions are gliding and flapping. To make up for lost speed. As the bird is flapping along. the wing has to twist. and folding occur during flapping and not during gliding. it needs to make sure it has the correct angle of attack all along its wingspan. Since the outer part of the wing moves up and down more steeply than the inner part. twisting. The angle by which the wing is tilted is called the angle of attack. a seagull moves forward by slightly tilting its wings upwards.4. the air resistance or drag force acts on the seagull causing it to slow down. This allows the seagull to change the angle of attack between the up-stroke and the down-stroke of their wings. a seagull’s wings continue to develop lift as before. this causes the generated lift to be angled slightly forward increasing the bird’s speed. to counteract its weight and drag. called thrust. When flapping. As the seagull moves forward. time and effort is saved by looking into already existing mechanisms that perform the same function. When gliding. This action causes the wings to act like the propeller on an airplane to pull the seagull forward. the seagull angles its body downwards and goes into a shallow dive. Wing flapping involves two stages: the down-stroke. The wings are flexible. and the up-stroke. For example seagulls are ornithopters. This deflects the air gently downwards and creates an opposite reaction directed upwards called lift. so that each part of the wing can maintain just the right angle of attack. which can also provide some upward force. which provides the majority of the thrust. During the down-stroke the angle of attack is increased. Background Research Before trying to design any mechanism. The three different movements of the seagull’s wing of vertical flapping. During the up-stroke the angle of attack is decreased. but they also create an additional forward and upward force.

Seagull Gliding Figure 2. the air pressure there decreases and creates the upward lift. because we must reduce the air resistance in contact with the surface of the wings in the up stroke thus not to cancel out the lift created in the down stroke. The famous airfoil shape of airplane wings requires the air travelling over the wing to travel faster than the air travelling under the wing. Seagull during down stroke Looking at flying from a physics standpoint. deals specifically to ornithopter wings. Leonardo da Vinci made the first real studies of flight when he had over 100 drawings that illustrated his theories on flight. Seagull during up stroke with folding Figure 3. the third law of motion states for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.Figure 1. This specific law stated by Isaac Newton. Because the air travels faster above the wing. The shape of the wings determines how fast and high a plane can fly. The ornithopter flying machine 7 . In the 1480's.

The study of propulsion is what enables the engineers to determine the proper kind of engine and the right amount of power that a plane will need. The wings. This will then clarify the idea to the engineer and will be able to define the shape of the plane. Figure 4. aeronautical engineers must understand all of these elements. direction. 8 . 4. Stability and Control is the study of how to control the speed. 1. the tail. altitude and other conditions that affect how a plane flies.was never actually created but showed a theoretical design how man could fly. 3. Aerodynamics. which is the study of how air flows around the airplane. and the main body of the plane all affect the manner the air will move around the plane. 2. Materials and Structures is the study of what materials are to be used on the plane and in the engine and how those materials make the plane strong enough to fly effectively. Eventually this concept led to the development of the modern day helicopter. Many airplane materials are now made out of composites that are stronger than most metals and are lightweight to enable easy maneuvering. Propulsion is the study of how to design an engine that will provide the thrust that is needed for a plane to take off and fly through the air. Forces acting on a flying mechanism To design a plane.

Figures 5 through 7 show two examples of some of the patents looked at for inspiration. Thus most patents were unhelpful for our specific purposes of a folding or twisting ornithopter. Slider Driven Ornithopter at 90°. 10°. However. and -80° Figure 6. none of the patents found animate motion other than a rigid flapping wing. but gave ideas for the general flapping motion. Rubber Band Crank Ornithopter in Up Position 9 . Some use a slider attached to a semi-flexible rope while others are more complicated methods using a crank. Figure 5.Moving to mechanical mechanisms online. a few patents exist for ornithopters.

Figure 7. One of the important features that has to be introduced is to minimize the degree of freedom of our ornithopter. The mechanism must also meet Grashof’s equation so that it will rotate completely and won’t toggle. which is an aircraft that flies by vertically flapping its wings. Problem Statement / Performance specification Design a drive mechanism of the wings of an ornithopter. Rubber Band Crank Ornithopter in Down Position 5. The flying mechanism of a seagull is considered as a modified ornithopter as it folds simultaneously while flapping. Also. another feature that is also added is twisting. Maximum force transmitted between the coupler and the wing is desired and the transmission angle should be as close to 90° as possible for maximum transmission of force. which together with vertical flapping and folding will highly increase the net lift generated over the flapping cycle. 10 . Furthermore. we should obtain the minimum possible transmission angle. This is done to obtain only one independent motion and to decrease the number of motors running the mechanism. In addition. This feature has been added to reduce surface area in the upstroke which results in less air resistance in contact with the wings. it is crucial to minimize the torque from the motor in order to have a smaller motor which will decrease the total weight resulting in higher lift force.

Once this configuration was found to work with no toggle errors. optimization commenced to perfect the design. designing commenced.6. then the folding section was added. From this several errors were found with placement of joints and link lengths that caused toggle positions to not allow the motion to continue. Brainstorming From the research and patents found. Twisting was eliminated early on because that would make the project a three dimensional problem and would complicate it very quickly. Figures 8 through 11 show the initial trials before the design of making the couplers collinear was discovered. Trial and error lead to the discovery that if the joint connecting the coupler to the inner section of the wing and the joint connecting the coupler to the outer section of the wing needed to be aligned on the crank in a straight line with the motor. gears were thought of then modeled on the Working Model software. After several versions. Different optimization ideas included: which joint needs to be further away from the motor? And what wing section lengths will maximize the folded angle between the two sections? Figures 12 through 14 show the alterations to address these two questions. Focusing on how to obtain a design that will give a flapping ornithopter. Designs started with a flapping inner section of the wing. an optimized design emerged which was then adopted as our final design. 11 .

Figure 8. Initial Folding Wing design 12 . Initial Design of a rigid wing Ornithopter at an up and down positions Figure 9.

Figure 10. Initial Folding Wing Design when it toggled Figure 11. Another Design that worked until it bent backwards Figure 12. Designs investigating the placement of motor and inner wing pivot point 13 .

Figure 13. Designs that investigate the distance to the motor of the two couplers and which should be closer for better motion Figure 14. Designs that investigate the lengths of the wing links 14 .

at least one link is able to make complete revolution. It is also the set of independent displacements that can be done by the system. So. For the outer links which are (variables taken from the dimensions sheet: ( ) Therefore this is a Grashof mechanism since the sum of smallest length and largest length is smaller than the sum of the other two lengths. Using the inner links: Therefore it is Grashof. the degree of freedom is equal to one. The condition was evaluated twice. so that the mechanism has only one independent motion.7. It is obtained by calculating the number of joints and links. The Gruebler's equation is very important in order to determine the degrees of freedom of any type linkage. In our design we have 6 links and 7 joints. once using the outermost links and the other using the inner links. ( ( ) ) ( ) (1) The Grashof condition examines the behavior of the mechanism by calculating the length of its links. then it satisfies Grashof conditions. Analysis / Selection The degree of freedom is the number of autonomous parameter required to exceptionally describe position of a system in space at any instant of time. 15 . In our design. If shortest and longest links are smaller than the two others.

m. By using protractor. the minimum transmission angle between the outer wing and the coupler is 22° and the minimum transmission angle between the inner wing and the coupler is 30°. and d is the horizontal distance between the center of the wing and the motor. L is the lift factor since the design should be able to withstand 1. This angle should be as close to 90° as possible because torque is transmitted by a force perpendicular to the distance from the rotation center.The maximum torque was 3 N.5 time the weight of the ornithopter. This was calculated via the equation (2) ( )( )( )( ) Where g is gravity.2 was assumed to be the distance from the center of wing to the motor The transmission angle is the value of the angle between the intersections of two links. 16 . Since the average wingspan is around 100 cm from tip to tip. 0. m is the mass of the ornithopter which is assumed to be 1 kg (average seagull mass). Thus it is important to make it limit how small the transmission angle so to transmit the maximum amount of force as possible.

The driving gear is meshed with another driven gear that is connected to a similar mechanism to generate the same motion for the second wing. the length of the crank. The crank is a driving gear which is connected to the motor by a shaft. and the position of the motor dictated the angle of flapping. During analysis it can be noted that the flapping coupler needed to be farther away from the motor than the folding coupler. The first four bar mechanism controls the flapping and the second controls the folding. The design is shown below in 4 stages: the maximum positions and one during the up stroke and one during the down stroke. The wing is made of two jointed links. The inner link is part of the flapping mechanism. The length of the flapping coupler. Detailed Final Design The design is a six bar mechanism. Maximum folding angle was found to be when the two links that make up the wing were equal size.8. The inner and outer links of the wing are connected to the gear via two separate links. folding and flapping if considered a part of the inner link. while the outer link is part of both. Pros:  Motions of wings are synchronized due to gears  Only one driving motor is needed Cons:  The motion of the wing slows down during the end of the down stroke as it is straightening out 17 . which when analyzing it could be split into two four bar mechanisms.

Figure 15. Final Design at bottom extreme position Figure 16. Final Design during up stroke 18 .

Final Design during down stroke.Figure 17. Final Design at top extreme position Figure 18. 19 .

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