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Bioinspir Biomim. 2016 Jun 30;11(4):046002. doi: 10.1088/1748-3190/11/4/046002.

Quasi-steady aerodynamic model of clap-and-fling flapping MAV and validation using free-flight data.

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Section of Control and Simulation, Faculty of Aerospace Engineering, Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands.


Flapping-wing aerodynamic models that are accurate, computationally efficient and physically meaningful, are challenging to obtain. Such models are essential to design flapping-wing micro air vehicles and to develop advanced controllers enhancing the autonomy of such vehicles. In this work, a phenomenological model is developed for the time-resolved aerodynamic forces on clap-and-fling ornithopters. The model is based on quasi-steady theory and accounts for inertial, circulatory, added mass and viscous forces. It extends existing quasi-steady approaches by: including a fling circulation factor to account for unsteady wing-wing interaction, considering real platform-specific wing kinematics and different flight regimes. The model parameters are estimated from wind tunnel measurements conducted on a real test platform. Comparison to wind tunnel data shows that the model predicts the lift forces on the test platform accurately, and accounts for wing-wing interaction effectively. Additionally, validation tests with real free-flight data show that lift forces can be predicted with considerable accuracy in different flight regimes. The complete parameter-varying model represents a wide range of flight conditions, is computationally simple, physically meaningful and requires few measurements. It is therefore potentially useful for both control design and preliminary conceptual studies for developing new platforms.

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