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5 April 2006 Optimization of a tensegrity wing for biomimetic applications
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Current attempts to build fast, efficient, and maneuverable underwater vehicles have looked to nature for inspiration. However, they have all been based on traditional propulsive techniques, i.e. rotary motors. In the current study a promising and potentially revolutionary approach is taken that overcomes the limitations of these traditional methods-morphing structure concepts with integrated actuation and sensing. Inspiration for this work comes from the manta ray (Manta birostris) and other batoid fish. These creatures are highly maneuverable but are also able to cruise at high speeds over long distances. In this paper, the structural foundation for the biomimetic morphing wing is a tensegrity structure. A preliminary procedure is presented for developing morphing tensegrity structures that include actuating elements. A shape optimization method is used that determines actuator placement and actuation amount necessary to achieve the measured biological displacement field of a ray. Lastly, an experimental manta ray wing is presented that measures the static and dynamic pressure field acting on the ray's wings during a normal flapping cycle.
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Keith W. Moored, Stuart A. Taylor, and Hilary Bart-Smith "Optimization of a tensegrity wing for biomimetic applications", Proc. SPIE 6173, Smart Structures and Materials 2006: Smart Structures and Integrated Systems, 617313 (5 April 2006);

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