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Proceedings Paper

Actuator development for a flapping microrobotic microaerial vehicle
Author(s): Adam G. Cox; Ephrahim Garcia; Michael Goldfarb
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Paper Abstract

Low speed aerodynamics and its application to microflight and microaerial vehicles is an interesting problem. Small stout wings with small areas result in low Reynolds numbers. The Re's below 103 conventional fixed wing flight is no longer possible because drag becomes the dominant force. However it is possible to induce lift using those drag forces in the same manner as some birds and insects. Flapping is a good choice for microaerial vehicles since it is a highly efficient way to produce flight and power consumption is a major concern. Both insects and birds use a complex elastodynamic system that only requires excitation at its natural frequency or some lower harmonic. The actuation device presented is based on the same flight principle of insects and small birds. It is a solid-state, resonating, elastodynamic system excited by a piezoelectric actuator. It is composed of two major components. The first component is a solid-state flexure mechanism that is used to amplify the piezoceramic output and produce the flapping motion. The second components is the piezoelectric actuator. Since piezoceramics are capacitive and possess a high energy density and efficiency they can be used to excite the device and induce a flapping motion with low power losses. This allows for long distance flights that require little energy. The complex dynamics of the device involves not only the mechanics of the actuator and flexure mechanism but the interaction of the wing and the air and the actuators driving electronics. The resulting device is an electromechanically tuned resonating microrobot actuator.

Paper Details

Date Published: 5 October 1998
PDF: 7 pages
Proc. SPIE 3519, Microrobotics and Micromanipulation, (5 October 1998); doi: 10.1117/12.325730
Show Author Affiliations
Adam G. Cox, Vanderbilt Univ. (United States)
Ephrahim Garcia, Vanderbilt Univ. (United States)
Michael Goldfarb, Vanderbilt Univ. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 3519:
Microrobotics and Micromanipulation
Armin Sulzmann; Bradley J. Nelson, Editor(s)

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