The scalable design of flapping micro-air vehicles inspired by insect flight

David Lentink*, Stefan R. Jongerius, Nancy L. Bradshaw

*Bijbehorende auteur voor dit werk

OnderzoeksoutputAcademicpeer review

84 Citaten (Scopus)


Here we explain how flapping micro air vehicles (MAVs) can be designed at different scales, from bird to insect size. The common believe is that micro fixed wing airplanes and helicopters outperform MAVs at bird scale, but become inferior to flapping MAVs at the scale of insects as small as fruit flies. Here we present our experience with designing and building micro flapping air vehicles that can fly both fast and slow, hover, and take-off and land vertically, and we present the scaling laws and structural wing designs to miniaturize these designs to insect size. Next we compare flapping, spinning and translating wing performance to determine which wing motion results in the highest aerodynamic performance at the scale of hummingbirds, house flies and fruit flies. Based on this comparison of hovering performance, and our experience with our flapping MAV, we find that flapping MAVs are fundamentally much less energy efficient than helicopters, even at the scale of a fruit fly with a wing span of 5 mm. We find that insect-sized MAVs are most energy effective when propelled by spinning wings.

Originele taal-2English
TitelFlying Insects and Robots
RedacteurenDario Floreano, Jean-Christophe Zufferey, Mandyam V. Srinivasan, Charlie Ellington
UitgeverijSpringer Berlin / Heidelberg
Aantal pagina's21
ISBN van geprinte versie9783540893929
StatusPublished - 2010
Extern gepubliceerdJa

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