Flow visualization around a flapping-wing micro air vehicle in free flight

Del Estal Herrero, Alejandro
Perçin, Mustafa
Karasek, Matej
Van Oudheusden, Bas W.
Flow visualizations have been performed on a free flying flapping-wing Micro Air Vehicle (MAV), using a large-scale particle image velocimetry (PIV) approach. The PIV method involves the use of helium filled soap bubbles (HFSB) as tracer particles. HFSB scatter light with much higher intensity than regular seeding particles and comparable to that reflected off the flexible flapping wings. This enables flow field visualization to be achieved also close to the flapping wings, in contrast to previous PIV experiments with regular seeding. Unlike previous tethered wind tunnel measurements in which the vehicle is fixed relative to the measurement setup, the MAV now flies through the measurement area. In this way, the experiment captures the actual flow field of the MAV in free flight, allowing the true asymmetric nature of the flow to be appreciated. Measurements were performed for two different orientations of the light sheet with respect to the flight direction. In the first configuration, the light sheet is parallel to the flight direction and visualizes a streamwise plane that intersects the MAV wings at a specific spanwise position. In the second configuration, the illumination plane is normal to the flight direction and visualizes the flow as the MAV passes through the light sheet.
Citation Formats
A. Del Estal Herrero, M. Perçin, M. Karasek, and B. W. Van Oudheusden, “Flow visualization around a flapping-wing micro air vehicle in free flight,” presented at the 18th International Symposium on Flow Visualization, June 26-29, 2018, Zurich, Switzerland, 2018, Accessed: 00, 2021. [Online]. Available: https://hdl.handle.net/11511/86995.