Stability and power optimality in time-periodic flapping wing structures
This paper investigates the nonlinear dynamics of a vehicle with two flexible flapping wings. The body dynamics and the wings’ deformation are monolithically grouped into a single system of equations, with aerodynamics accounted for by a quasi-steady blade element method. A periodic shooting method is then used to locate closed orbits of this non-autonomous system, and Floquet multipliers assess the linearized stability about the nonlinear orbit. This framework is then exposed to a gradient based optimizer, in order to quantify the role of wing planform variables, wing structure variables, and kinematic actuation variables in obtaining vehicles with superior open-loop stability characteristics, and/or low-power requirements.