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The Validation of a Generalized Aerodynamic Model for a Multi-Body Bio-Inspired Wing

[+] Author Affiliations
Christopher J. Blower, Adam M. Wickenheiser

The George Washington University, Washington, DC

Paper No. SMASIS2013-3075, pp. V002T06A007; 11 pages
  • ASME 2013 Conference on Smart Materials, Adaptive Structures and Intelligent Systems
  • Volume 2: Mechanics and Behavior of Active Materials; Structural Health Monitoring; Bioinspired Smart Materials and Systems; Energy Harvesting
  • Snowbird, Utah, USA, September 16–18, 2013
  • Conference Sponsors: Aerospace Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5604-8
  • Copyright © 2013 by ASME


Bio-inspiration has introduced new and innovative flow control methods in gust alleviation, maneuverability and stability improvement for morphing aircraft wings. The bio-inspired wing model under consideration imitates the techniques used by birds to manipulate localized air flow through the installation of feather-like panels across the airfoil’s upper and lower surface, replacing the traditional wing’s surface and trailing edge flap. Each flap is designed to rotate into both the airfoil profile and inbound air flow, using a single degree of freedom about their individual hinge points located at 20%, 40%, 60% and 80% of the chord. This wing morphing technique offers flap configurations typically unattainable by traditional aircraft and enables some advantageous maneuvers, including reduced turning radii and aero-braking. Due to the number of potential configurations, a generalized adaptive panel method (APM) has been developed to model the pressure distribution using a series of constant-strength doublets along the airfoil surface. To accommodate for the wake regions generated by the unconventional wing profiles, viscous Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) simulations are performed to characterize these regions and identify their outer boundaries. The wake profile geometries are integrated into the APM, and are used to accurately model the aerodynamic influence of the wake. To calculate the drag generated by each configuration, Thwaites’ laminar and Head’s turbulent boundary layer methods are implemented to enable identification of flow transition and separation along the airfoil surface. The integration of these aerodynamic techniques allows the flight characteristics, including the pressure, friction, lift, drag, and moment coefficients, of each morphing airfoil configuration to be calculated. The computed aerodynamic coefficients are validated using experimental data from a 4′×1′×1′ test section in a low speed suction wind tunnel operating over a Reynolds Number range of 150,000–450,000.

Copyright © 2013 by ASME
Topics: Biomimetics , Wings



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