Reston: American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Inc.
In an effort to develop micro-aerial-vehicles (MAVs) of 20 cm-span with a successful flight record, this present study aims to investigate the influences of wing configuration and foil stiffness on the aerodynamic forces via wind tunnel testing. These wings with the same wing skeleton structures are made of polyethylene (PE), polyethyleneterephthalate (PET), and polyxylylene (parylene). The foil thickness ranges from 17 to 43 um which corresponds to the variating stiffness of the membrane. The tests showed that the lift coefficients of the stiffened wings have been improved, while the net thrust coefficients have little importance with the wing foil thickness. Inspection on the relations between power consumption and the flexural stiffness of tested flapping wings reveals that the larger lift force and greater power consumption is associated with the 35 and 43 um thick parylene. Therefore, The present study demonstrated that the flight test of a MAV with the best wing foil of 24 um thick PET resulted in the longest endurance time of 8 min. Several innovative aspects of developing this work are also summarized.