Reston: American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Inc.
Electrical-discharge wire cutting is a promising technique that provides flexibility and lightness for a flapping micro aerial vehicle. Electrical-discharge wire cutting is used to fabricate the high-aspect-ratio structure of the fourbar linkage gear transmission module made of aluminum-alloy 7075. Aluminum-alloy 7075 has excellent specific strength (yield strength/density) good for durability of the transmission module in a micro aerial vehicle’s tuff operation. A new flapping micro aerial vehicle of 21.6 cm wing span consequently has a minimum body mass of 5.9 g after installing the transmission module and a flexible wing frame made of carbon fibers and polyethylene terephthalate film. This micro aerial vehicle can endure a flight time of 6 min 7 s with the wingbeat frequency of 10–20 Hz. The lift and thrust coefficients of the micro aerial vehicle have been investigated through wind-tunnel testing. The proposed flapping micro aerial vehicle also exhibits the improved characteristic in the scaling law with respect to wingbeat frequency versus body mass.