Natures wonders: biomimetics; bat wing design (Introduction)

by David Turell @, Thursday, February 18, 2016, 15:17 (1305 days ago) @ David Turell

For very small aircraft, a batwing design:

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/02/160218062248.htm

"Researchers from the University of Southampton have designed innovative membrane wings inspired by bats, paving the way for a new breed of unmanned Micro Air Vehicles (MAVs) that have improved aerodynamic properties, can fly over long distances and are more economical to run.


"The wings work like artificial muscles, changing shape in response to the forces they experience and have no mechanical parts, making MAVs incorporating them easier to maintain.

"The unique design of the wings incorporates electro-active polymers that makes the wings stiffen and relax in response to an applied voltage and further enhances their performance.

By changing the voltage input, the shape of the electroactive membrane and therefore aerodynamic characteristics can be altered during flight. The proof of concept wing will eventually enable flight over much longer distances than currently possible.

***

"Sometimes as small as 15cm across, MAVs are increasingly used in a wide variety of civil and military applications, such as surveying remote and dangerous areas. One emerging trend among MAV developers is to draw inspiration from the natural world to design vehicles that can achieve better flight performance and that offer similar levels of controllability to small drones but use the efficiency provided by wings to fly much further.

"The Southampton-Imperial team have focused on mimicking the physiology of bats -- the only type of mammal naturally capable of genuine flight. To inform and speed up the design process, the Imperial team built innovative computational models and used them to aid the construction of a test MAV incorporating the pioneering 'bat wings'.

***

"Professor Bharath Ganapathisubramani of Southampton's Aerodynamics and Flight Mechanics Group, who has led the overall project, says: "We've successfully demonstrated the fundamental feasibility of MAVs incorporating wings that respond to their environment, just like those of the bats that have fuelled our thinking. We've also shown in laboratory trials that active wings can dramatically alter the performance. The combined computational and experimental approach that characterised the project is unique in the field of bio-inspired MAV design.'"

Comment: Nature knows best. All by chance?


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