Natural flyers including birds, bats, and insects have been the subject of increasing interest for scientists and engineers to understand their physical flight mechanisms. It is also of interest to translate natural mechanisms to micro-aerial vehicles (MAV’s). The compliant skin of the wing distinguishes bats from all other flying animals, and contributes to bats’ remarkable, highly maneuverable flight performance and high energetic efficiency. Here, a simplified constitutive model accounting for an active wing membrane is implemented in ABAQUS and coupled with an in house CFD solver for FSI problems on a standard airfoil configuration. The preliminary results show that a highly compliant membrane that allows kinematic motions leads to areal strains than can enhance aerodynamic performance and provides an operating space unavailable to flexible and rigid airfoils. The results suggest that intramembranous muscle-like activation can significantly modulate camber under static conditions, which increases aerodynamic performance and may allow local control to maintain attached flow.
Alyssa J. Skulborstad, Gurmeet Singh, and Nakhiah C. Goulbourne, "Aerodynamic characteristics of soft active membrane wings (Conference Presentation)," Proc. SPIE 10594, Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD) XX, 1059419 (Presented at SPIE Smart Structures and Materials + Nondestructive Evaluation and Health Monitoring: March 08, 2018; Published: 27 March 2018); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2300973.5758623240001.
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