Journal article

The effect of the phase angle between the forewing and hindwing on the aerodynamic performance of a dragonfly-type ornithopter

Dragonflies achieve agile maneuverability by flapping four wings independently. Different phase angles between the flapping forewing and hindwing have been observed during various flight modes. The aerodynamic performance depends on phase angle control, as exemplified by an artificial flying ornithopter. Here, we present a dragonfly-like ornithopter whose phase angle was designed to vary according to the phase lag between the slider-cranks of the forewing and hindwing. Two microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) differential pressure sensors were attached to the center of both forewing and hindwing to evaluate the aerodynamic performance during flapping motions when the phase angle was changed. By varying the phase angle in both the tethered condition and free-flight, the performance of the forewing remained approximately constant, whereas that of the hindwing exhibited obvious variations; the maximum average value was two-fold higher than the minimum. The experimental results suggest that simple phase angle changes enable a flying ornithopter to control flight force balance without complex changes in the wing kinematics.


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