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Experimental Investigations of the Aerodynamic Characteristics of Moving Micro Air Vehicle Wings

Dr.Thorsten J. Möller
Institute of Fluid Mechanics
Technical University Braunschweig
Braunschweig, Germany

The aerodynamics of Mirco Air Vehicles (MAVs) in the low speed regime differs considerable from the aerodynamics of larger vehicles, e.g. Unmanned Air Vehicle (UAV). To improve the understanding of the flow phenomena occurring in the low Reynolds number regime, it is useful to conduct experiments under realistic flight conditions and to provide experimental data for comparisons with CFD results.

This talk presents the results of a study of static and moving flat plate wings for MAVs. Wind tunnel experiments with force and Particle Image Velocimetry measurements were performed in a specially designed wind tunnel environment for low Reynolds number investigations. This test rig is designed for wind tunnel testing of 1:1 scale MAVs. The setup is capable to measure the unsteady aerodynamic forces whilst performing a flight manoeuvre with 3 degrees of freedom in the upright Y=0 plane or typical flapping wing motions like plunging, pitching and their combinations. Effects of the wing shape (elliptical and rectangular), the aspect ratio (1 and 2), the Reynolds number (18.000, 36.000 and 108.000) and the kinematics using different motion forms of pure plunge and combined pitch/plunge with a reduced frequency of k=0.2 are discussed.