Numerical Simulation of Flapping Wing MAVs in V-formation
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The purpose of this research is to understand the aerodynamics of Flapping wing Micro Aerial Vehicles (FMAVs) flying in V-formation and how V-formation can improve the endurance of FMAVs. We tested FMAVs with two types of flapping kinematics: (1) idealized sinusoidal flapping/pitching motion, (2) actual FMAV wing deformation capture. Using the design of experiment methodology, together with an immersed boundary method numerical solver, we investigate the effects of phase angle and x, y, z separation between the wings on the FMAVs’ performance. Results show that it is possible to obtain an overall thrust and lift improvement of up to 25% and 14% respectively, or a reduction of both 19%, compared to the single wing configuration. Lastly, for certain cases, we extend another row, leading to a total of five wings. Results show that in general, the additional thrust or lift experienced by the second row of wings is also experienced by the third row of wings. Hence, this may apply to subsequent rows too.
Keywordsflapping wing V-formation immersed boundary methods MAV design of experiment
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This research used computational resources of the K computer provided by the RIKEN Center for Computational Science through the HPCI System Research project (Project ID: hp150306). The computational work for this article was also partially done on resources of the National Supercomputing Centre, Singapore (https://doi.org/www.nscc.sg). The authors would also like to thank Mr Cheng Kian Song for generating the Flowerfly FMAV wing deformation data.
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