PIV on Simple Mechanical Flapping Wings for Hover-like Kinematics

Document Type

Conference Paper

Publication Date


Publication Source

49th AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting including the New Horizons Forum and Aerospace Exposition


A Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV) study on aspect ratio effects was performed to highlight the role of three-dimensional aerodynamic contributions relative to inertial contributions to lift and power for a hover-like passive pitch rotation flapping kinematic motion. Interest in the research and development of flapping wing micro air vehicles (MAVs) continues to grow. Despite the large body of work performed recently, an abundance of unanswered questions still exist. The approach taken in this study is to begin by reducing the complexity of the problem through parametric variation of a single geometric parameter, aspect ratio.

The present PIV research has a parallel ongoing force acquisition experiment led by the US Air Force Research Labs (AFRL/RBAL). When the AFRL study has been completed, the lift and inertial force results will be used in conjunction with the PIV results to provide more insight into the physics behind the resulting forces. One important finding for the kinematics studied is that an intermediate aspect ratio (rectangular flat plate) wing will result in the greatest lift efficiency from the standpoint of both aerodynamics and power.




Permission documentation is on file.


American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics

Place of Publication

Orlando, FL