Experimental and Computational Study of Flapping-Wing Dynamics and Locomotion in Aerial and Aquatic Environments

Citation:

(Dissertation) Yufeng Chen. 5/2017. “Experimental and Computational Study of Flapping-Wing Dynamics and Locomotion in Aerial and Aquatic Environments.” Engineering Sciences. Thesis Type: PhD thesis.

Abstract:

Flapping-wing flight is ubiquitous among natural flyers. Flying insects can perform incredible acrobatic maneuvers, such as rapid turning, somersault, and collision avoidance in cluttered environments. Unlike fixed wing aircrafts or rotorcrafts, these tiny creatures utilize highly unsteady aerodynamic phenomena to achieve extraordinary locomotive abilities.
Taking inspiration from biological flappers, we develop a robot capable of insect-like flight, and then go beyond biological capabilities by demonstrating multi-phase locomotion and impulsive water-air transition. In this dissertation, we conduct experimental and computational studies of flapping wing aerodynamics that aim to quantify fluid-wing interactions and ultimately distill scaling rules for robotic design. Comparative studies of fluid-wing interactions in air and water reveal remarkable similarities, which lead to the development of the first hybrid aerial-aquatic flapping wing robot. Further, we show that microrobots face unique challenges and opportunities due to the dominance of surface tension at the millimeter scale. By developing an impulsive mechanism that utilizes an electrochemical reaction, we demonstrate the first-ever water to air takeoff in a microrobot.
Last updated on 11/22/2017