M.Sc Thesis

M.Sc StudentIdan Mizrahi
SubjectOn the Aerodynamic Characteristics of a Flapping Wing
DepartmentDepartment of Aerospace Engineering
Supervisor Professor Arieli Rimon
Full Thesis text - in Hebrew Full thesis text - Hebrew Version


This research was intended to study the aerodynamic characteristics of a two dimensional flapping wing under subsonic flow regime. This topic is of main interest nowadays, as part of a common effort to design efficient micro air-vehicles (MAV's) for civil and military purposes. The combination of small wing size and low flight velocity, which results in low Reynolds numbers, gives a great advantage to flapping wings rather than fixed wings. The flapping motion enables the wing to produce high lift along with thrust, but without adding any extra weight penalty. This mechanism is well utilized by fish, insects and birds.

A special attention was taken regarding the thrust and propulsion efficiency that may be extracted out of the wing motion. The basic principle of thrust generation using a simple one degree of freedom flapping motion was demonstrated and special purpose sensitivity tests were run in order to find better manners of motion and preferred wing geometries.

The analysis was performed using three different methods: analytical solution, numeric calculation of potential flow using panels (Panel method), and numeric calculation of viscous compressible flow using finite differences - computational fluid dynamics (CFD method.