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Aeroelastic Analysis of Membrane Wings
Banerjee, Soumitra Pinak
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The physics of flapping is very important in the design of MAVs. As MAVs cannot have an engine that produces the amount of thrust required for forward flight, and yet be light weight, harnessing thrust and lift from flapping is imperative for its design and development. In this thesis, aerodynamics of pitch and plunge are simulated using a 3-D, free wake, vortex lattice method (VLM), and structural characteristics of the wing are simulated as a membrane supported by a rigid frame. The aerodynamics is validated by comparing the results from the VLM model for constant angle of attack flight, pitching flight and plunging flight with analytical results, existing 2-D VLM and a doublet lattice method. The aeroelasticity is studied by varying parameters affecting the flow as well as parameters affecting the structure. The parametric studies are performed for cases of constant angle of attack, plunge and, pitch and plunge. The response of the aeroelastic model to the changes in the parameters are analyzed and documented. The results show that the aerodynamic loads increase for increased deformation, and vice-versa. For a wing with rigid boundaries supporting a membranous structure with a step change in angle of attack, the membrane oscillates about the steady state deformation and influence the loads. For prescribed oscillations in pitch and plunge, the membrane deformations and loads transition into a periodic steady state.
- Masters Theses