Insect-like vibrating winged NAV (Vol. 49 No.4)

Prototype with vibrating wings

This work presents an original concept using the combination of two resonant vibration modes of the flexible wings of a Nano-Air Vehicle to reproduce insect wings kinematics and generate lift. Since insects use for flying a kinematics which combines flapping and twisting motions with a specific phase shift, the main goal of this study is to design the artificial wings such that they feature two vibrations modes which are producing flapping and twisting deformations and to combine them with the appropriate phase shift. For this purpose, a polymeric prototype was micromachined with a wingspan of 3 cm, flexible wings and a single electromagnetic actuator as illustrated in the figure.

An optimal wings configuration was determined with a modelling and validated through experimental analyses to observe the vibrating behaviour of the prototype. A dedicated lift force measurement bench was then used to demonstrate a lift force equivalent to the prototype weight. Finally, at the maximum lift frequency, high-speed camera measurements confirmed a kinematics of the flexible wings with flapping and twisting motions combined in the expected phase shift.

D. Faux, O. Thomas, E. Cattan and S. Grondel, Two modes resonant combined motion for insect wings kinematics reproduction and lift generation, EPL 121, 66001 (2018)