Research Papers

Improving Prediction of Flapping-Wing Motion By Incorporating Actuator Constraints With Models of Aerodynamic Loads Using In-Flight Data

[+] Author and Article Information
John W. Gerdes

U.S. Army Research Laboratory,
4502 Darlington Street,
Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD 21005
e-mail: john.w.gerdes.civ@mail.mil

Hugh A. Bruck

Fellow ASME
Department of Mechanical Engineering,
University of Maryland,
College Park, MD 20742
e-mail: bruck@umd.edu

Satyandra K. Gupta

Fellow ASME
Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering,
University of Southern California,
Los Angeles, CA 90089
e-mail: guptask@usc.edu

Manuscript received October 17, 2016; final manuscript received January 15, 2017; published online March 9, 2017. Assoc. Editor: Hai-Jun Su.This work is in part a work of the U.S. Government. ASME disclaims all interest in the U.S. Government's contributions.

J. Mechanisms Robotics 9(2), 021011 (Mar 09, 2017) (11 pages) Paper No: JMR-16-1316; doi: 10.1115/1.4035994 History: Received October 17, 2016; Revised January 15, 2017

Flapping-wing flight is a challenging system integration problem for designers due to tight coupling between propulsion and flexible wing subsystems with variable kinematics. High fidelity models that capture all the subsystem interactions are computationally expensive and too complex for design space exploration and optimization studies. A combination of simplified modeling and validation with experimental data offers a more tractable approach to system design and integration, which maintains acceptable accuracy. However, experimental data on flapping-wing aerial vehicles which are collected in a static laboratory test or a wind tunnel test are limited because of the rigid mounting of the vehicle, which alters the natural body response to flapping forces generated. In this study, a flapping-wing aerial vehicle is instrumented to provide in-flight data collection that is unhindered by rigid mounting strategies. The sensor suite includes measurements of attitude, heading, altitude, airspeed, position, wing angle, and voltage and current supplied to the drive motors. This in-flight data are used to setup a modified strip theory aerodynamic model with physically realistic flight conditions. A coupled model that predicts wing motions is then constructed by combining the aerodynamic model with a model of flexible wing twist dynamics and enforcing motor torque and speed bandwidth constraints. Finally, the results of experimental testing are compared to the coupled modeling framework to establish the effectiveness of the proposed approach for improving predictive accuracy by reducing errors in wing motion specification.

Copyright © 2017 by ASME
Topics: Wings , Flight , Strips , Modeling
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Fig. 1

Instrumentation suite high level functional diagram

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Fig. 2

Custom PCB used in Robo Raven II flight tests

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Fig. 3

Maneuver test results

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Fig. 4

Generalized wing design template

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Fig. 5

Cruising flight test results

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Fig. 6

Airspeed and inclination results from cruising flight tests

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Fig. 7

Power consumption in cruising flight at 4.0 Hz flapping

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Fig. 8

Wing angle tracking results

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Fig. 9

Torque required for steady plunge velocity

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Fig. 10

Comparison between actual and commanded angular velocity for wing D

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Fig. 11

Angular velocity for wing D across flap rates

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Fig. 12

High-speed video captures wing D test

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Fig. 13

Two-axis wing flexibility model

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Fig. 14

High-speed photography used to characterize wing twist amplitude

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Fig. 15

Computed flap motion incorporating motor model

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Fig. 16

Strip theory model approach




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