Numerical simulation of a flapping four-wing micro-aerial vehicle
21 Apr 2015

Submitted by (Bold are A*Star Staff): W.B. Tay,B.W. van Oudheusden,H. Bijl

Research Institute:

Title of Paper:
Numerical simulation of a flapping four-wing micro-aerial vehicle

Published in:
Journal of Fluids and Structures

A three-dimensional numerical simulation of a four-wing (two wings on each side, one on top of another) flapping micro-aerial vehicle (FMAV), known as the Delfly micro, is performed using an immersed boundary method Navier–Stokes finite volume solver at Reynolds numbers of 5500 (forward flight condition). The objective of the present investigation is to gain an insight to the aerodynamics of flapping wing biplane configuration, by making an analysis on a geometry that is simplified, yet captures the major aspects of the wing behavior. The fractional step method is used to solve the Navier–Stokes equations. Results show that in comparison to the Delfly II flapping kinematics (a similar FMAV configuration but smaller flapping stroke angles), the Delfly-Micro flapping kinematics provides more thrust while maintaining the same efficiency. The Delfly-Micro biplane configuration generates more lift than expected when the inclination angle increases, due to the formation of a uniform leading edge vortex. Estimates of the lift produced in the forward flight conditions confirm that in the current design, the MAV is able to sustain forward flight. The potential effect of wing flexibility on the aerodynamic performance in the biplane configuration context is investigated through prescribed flexibility in the simulations. Increasing the wing◊≥ spanwise flexibility increases thrust but increasing chordwise flexibility causes thrust to first increase and then decrease. Moreover, combining both spanwise and chordwise flexibility outperforms cases with only either spanwise or chordwise flexibility.

Acknowledegment remark in publication: Part of this work is supported by the A*STAR Computational Resource Centre through the use of its high performance computing facilities.