Designing a Flapping Wing Type Micro Aerial Vehicle Using ANSYS

Presented by Taher Basrai from the Georgia Institute of Technology, ANSYS was used to design parts of a robot dragonfly like vehicle. The lift and trust characteristics of flapping wings are major factors affecting performance and power requirement for a Micro Aerial Vehicle (MAV). ANSYS Fluent proved to be instrumental to obtain the flow characteristics and lift and drag force data on flapping wings.

To provide additional DOF for wing feathering, an innovative dynamic mesh UDF was developed by students of the Georgia Institute of Technology to handle change in velocity references from local to global co-ordinates in Fluent. Various cases made of combination of variables that affected flapping wing performance like amplitudes, flapping frequencies, wing shapes and materials were run seamlessly in Fluent. Through use of batch files in Fluent the parameter sweeps could be automated. Powerful post-processing tools available with ANSYS made it possible to vividly visualize complex fluid flow around flapping wing. The ability to simulate through ANSYS effectively narrowed the scope of experimentation and as a result the prototype development cycle time was significantly reduced. The innovative wing design is currently used in flapping wing system of Micro Bio-Aerial Robots at companies like TechJect Inc.