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Aerodynamic and inertial characterization of a generic flapping wing mechanism

Beker , Can
The primary focus of this thesis is to conduct an aerodynamical and inertial characterization of a generic flapping wing mechanism. Firstly, a CAD model of the utilized flapping mechanism is created, and a custom test platform is developed for the performed flapping-wing test sequence. Experimental validation of the modal analysis performed for the developed test platform is presented. In the inertial force characterization study, the standalone effect of the inertial forces that occur during flapping motion on the produced total aerodynamic lift force is aimed to investigate. In this framework, the wing membrane is eliminated, and a flapping wing test is performed to measure the inertial force generated due to the motion of the prescribed kinematics in the lift direction. The dynamic calibration of the utilized sensor is carried out to ensure the fidelity of the acquired data during the flapping test. Verification studies regarding to the experimental inertial force investigation are conducted by performing theoretical and dynamic finite element analysis approaches. For the aerodynamic characterization of the proposed system, a nylon wing membrane is attached to the utilized flapping wing mechanism, and a flapping wing experiment is performed in the air medium. To verify the experimental results, a numerical validation study is conducted and, a fluid-structure interaction analysis model is presented for the corresponding model. Besides, the effect of wing-flexion on aerodynamic performance is investigated for the corresponding model. In this regard, a distinct fluid-structure interaction analysis model, including a flapping wing with high-rigidity material properties, is created to minimize the deflection that occurs on the wing structure. Experimental, theoretical, and numerical approaches conducted for the inertial and aerodynamic characterization of the utilized flapping mechanism showed great resemblance to each other. A comparative study performed for the effect of wing-flexion shows that wing elasticity enhances the thrust force for the proposed model.