Bio-Mimetic Millimeter-Scale Flapping Wings for Micro Air Vehicles

Report No. ARL-TR-4729
Authors: Christopher Kroninger, Jeffrey Pulskamp, Jessica Bronson, Ronald G. Polcawich, and Eric Wetzel
Date/Pages: March 2009; 22 pages
Abstract: In this report, we present designs of Micro-Electro-Mechanical System (MEMS) fabricated millimeter-scale flapping wings with some characterization of their structural properties and flapping performance. Wings of varied bio-mimetic design, including membrane and ribs-like structures, are flapped at resonance from lead zirconate titanate (PZT) bending actuators at their base. Laser Doppler vibrometer (LDV) measurements and finite element (FE) analysis predictions of the flapping frequencies and mode shapes and the flapping amplitude of the devices demonstrate the feasibility of fabricating wing systems analogous to insects of the same size scale. We also document the design and progress in implementing a photogrammetric setup, which will be employed for kinematic characterization in this ongoing work.
Distribution: Approved for public release
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Last Update / Reviewed: March 1, 2009