Experimental design of a flapping wing micro air vehicle through biomimicry of bumblebees

Michael Thompson, John Burnett, Akshay Batra, Deyzi Ixtabalan, Diana Tran, Armando Rodriguez, Bruce Steele

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

8 Scopus citations


The main focus of this research was on the aerodynamic characteristics of a Bumblebee Micro Air Vehicle (BMAV) recently developed at ASU. The BMAV prototype has a exible membrane with an aspect ratio of 4.18 and a chord of 8 cm. The aspect ratio of a typical queen bumblebee is 5.78.1 One wing area is 90.38 cm2 measured from the SolidWorks model and an inner area-fuselage of 6.78 cm2. The planform area, S was calculated as 187.56 cm2. Since MAVs typically y at low Reynolds number (Re), a Reynolds number of approx-imately 63, 000 (12 m/s) was used for wind tunnel testing. The dynamic wing behavior is able to articulate in two degrees of freedom; i.e. a figure 8 rotational apping pattern characteristic of many insects. The wing span, b of the prototype is 28 cm. The current BMAV model was designed through SolidWorks and manufactured using 3D printing to build a rapid prototype. The rapid prototype replicates an actual bumblebee, mimicking the insect's articulation for its aerodynamic attributes. The BMAV prototype has a 12 volt, six winding brushless motor with a maximum speed of 8, 750 rpm. The motor pro-vides hovering equilibrium which presented a persistent challenge in previous prototypes. Experimentally, from wind tunnel tests, the lift coefficient was found to be 0.5894. The stall angle was observed at +16 degrees angle of attack, α The minimum drag coefficient was observed to be-0.2389 at an α of-7 degrees. The collected experimental data permits a computation of aerodynamic derivatives that will be used in the near future to model the micro air vehicle within future nonlinear 3DOF/6DOF MATLAB/Simulink simulators.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAIAA Infotech at Aerospace
PublisherAmerican Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Inc.
ISBN (Print)9781624103384
StatePublished - 2015
EventAIAA Infotech @ Aerospace 2015 - Kissimmee, United States
Duration: Jan 5 2015Jan 9 2015


OtherAIAA Infotech @ Aerospace 2015
Country/TerritoryUnited States

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aerospace Engineering


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